Services for Educators

IDRA Digital Ambassadors Program

Empowering Communities through Student-led Technology Training

Digital ambassadors at ARISE trainingIn today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the ability to harness technology is not just a skill but a necessity for economic empowerment and meaningful participation in society. However, disparities in technology access and education continue to widen the digital divide, particularly in underserved communities like those in the Rio Grande Valley.

IDRA’s Digital Ambassadors program aims to empower RGV communities through youth-led technology training. The program also seeks to bridge the digital divide by transforming students into leaders and technology trainers for their local communities.

IDRA’s innovative program is structured in three pivotal phases over a five-month period in 2023-24: research, mastery and dissemination.

Initially, participating students engaged in comprehensive participatory action research to identify the most pressing technology needs within their community. The needs assessment was grounded in direct community engagement, ensuring that the training developed would be both relevant and impactful.

Following the research phase, students embarked on a rigorous learning journey to master the selected technology skill. That phase leveraged a blend of online learning platforms, hands-on workshops, and mentorship by technology, research, and community engagement professionals, ensuring that students gain both the depth of knowledge and the pedagogical skills necessary to effectively teach others.

The program’s culmination is a community training event, organized and led by the students. That event will not only provide vital technological training to community members but also foster a sense of empowerment among the students, as they witness the tangible impact of their efforts. By teaching others, students reinforce their own learning and develop valuable leadership, communication, and organizational skills.

IDRA’s Digital Ambassadors project embodies a sustainable model of community development and education, where knowledge is not just received but shared, creating a multiplying effect that extends far beyond the immediate participants. We envision a future where communities are equipped with the technological skills needed to thrive in the 21st century.