Inner-city kids on environmental and digital quest

31 Jul 2008

Young people from inner-city Dublin and inner-city Belfast have finished an innovative Digital Hub project called iTrek, which aims to promote environmental awareness and digital media skills.

Participants in the project carried out a series of environmental challenges over the course of a week, using 3G mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and other technologies. There were 14 young people from Dublin, and eight guests from Belfast, involved.

Activities included visiting shopkeepers in the Liberties to assess their commitment to recycling; a trip to Dublin Zoo to explore the topic of biodiversity; and a videoconferencing session with the young people from the Computer Clubhouse in Belfast.

The Dublin group also went to not-for-profit companies, Oxfam, Mrs Quinn’s Charity Shop and Digital Hub-based firm Camara, which recycles and refurbishes computers and ships them to schools and colleges in Africa. Everything was recorded with the various digital devices provided.

“Young people today are big into gadgets. They’re used to playing computer games; they use social networking sites to maintain contact with their friends; they have mobile phones and other digital media devices from an early age,” said Philip Flynn, chief executive of the Digital Hub Development Agency.

“What the iTrek project does is build on this interest in technology to foster an interest in the environment. By combining the creative use of digital media tools with environmental challenges, this project increases young people’s levels of digital literacy while simultaneously increasing their ‘green’ credentials.”

The iTrek summer project was supported by 3, which provided the latest 3G mobiles for use by the participants. iTrek ran for the first time last year. The South West Inner City Network works jointly with The Digital Hub on the event.

By Sorcha Corcoran

Pictured: ‘Superhero Data’ with participants in the iTrek Ceremony, which took place in The Digital Hub, Dublin yesterday