Guest Blog from LiveNet Digital Reporter Aoife kearney.

Mencap NI’s digital inclusion project for people with learning disabilities, LiveNet, funded by the Big Lottery Fund under the Live and Learn programme, came to its conclusion in September 2015.  Here, LiveNet participant Aoife Kearney from Newry, shares her experiences.

My name is Aoife I recently took part in four OCN workshops with LiveNet.  They were on e-Safety, the Internet and World Wide Web, which included email, processing digital photography and active citizenship. I’ve always had good ICT skills but taking part in the LiveNet course has helped me a lot especially when talking about e-Safety.  It really got me thinking about using Facebook and that you really don’t know who your talking to when online and what sites are safe and what sites are not.

Rosie, the tutor who took us for the workshops, was very friendly and helpful throughout all the workshops.  She explained everything step by step and I found her instructions easy to follow.  There was nothing to difficult and nothing was too much trouble as she took the time to explain things.  That’s what I liked – everybody’s ability was taken into account.  I felt I was not forced into something that I was not fit for.

I enjoyed taking photographs and then transferring them onto the computer. We also made keyrings. I loved using Comic Life as well.  It was cool having all the different styles of writing and effects that you could use. One of my absolute favourites was the talking photo album.

I got creative using Comic Life and designed a poster using different styles of writing and printed it out on photographic paper which made the colours look brighter.

Since taking part in the LiveNet course I have become a Digital Reporter which entails writing blogs about my hobbies and my interests or guest blogs like this one, and posting up photographs.  I really enjoy it as it’s something that I am good at and has given me so much confidence in myself.

I also recently travelled down to Belfast for the LiveNet end of project celebrations with my Support Worker and another participant from the Arc. When we arrived, I was asked by Rosie if I would help her click through the LiveNet website while she talked a bit about it.  I was also asked if I’d talk a bit about my blogs and I agreed to do this.  I was extremely nervous but once I got up and started talking about my blogs everyone seemed to be really interested.

Since standing up and talking I’ve got even me more confidence in myself. At the end of the talk a few people had complimented me on how well I had spoken. It was really nice to hear other people’s comments.

I have really benefited from taking part in Live Net and enjoyed every minute of it and, if I could, I would do it all over again. I have got my four OCN certificates that I worked very hard for and I’m very proud of myself in what I have achieved

I have also been made an admin of The Friends of The Arc Facebook page where I post up photographs on what we get up to. The page is now more active than it has ever been and it is great to see new likes coming in. I am definitely putting my ICT skills to good use and it is keeping me busy.

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