Diversity: Outcomes from the Test
After initially setting up the website to be used as part of the consultation, researchers gave various key organisations working on diversity, youth, and education an opportunity to give feedback on:
- The proposed trial and its content
- The site and its usability
These views were collected and appropriate adjustments were made.
In general, the view was that the potential for e-technology was very positive and there was considerable excitement about the initiative from all who were contacted. It was only in the first days of running the trial the initial problems with the e-mail addresses and the blocking of the site mentioned earlier became apparent.
Issues of Participation
From an early stage in planning and designing the e-consultation, the researchers were at pains to specifically test what level of participation could be achieved by using e-technologies only.
It became apparent very quickly that while the infrastructure has been put in place, it is only in place at a superficial level. We have identified certain issues:
- There is relatively little use made of e-mail addresses and many were no longer active.
- There was very little activity emerging from those e-mail points of contact and there is much to be done in this particular mode of communication to increase usership.
- Resources at school level may well be a huge issue. The security protection and the lack of broadband access created technological problems.
On the more positive side the site was easily accessible to young people regardless of their level of disadvantage. It was accessed by people from different national origins, from different class backgrounds, different religious backgrounds and from different racial backgrounds.
Worthwhile information was easily and readily generated through the survey, and fascinating, creative and helpful accounts were given on encounters with diversity. The tools used opened access to all youths, and the forms the discussions took generated new ways of directly communicating views and hearing those of others on the subject of diversity. These accounts, both creative and factual, can later form the basis of, or discussion points, for educators and policy makers alike.