An innovative 21st century coach is to be launched at the Broadband For The Bush forum, on June 9, at the State Library of Queensland in Stanley Place, South Brisbane.
The #ThinkDigitalCoach is the brainchild of Tim Gentle, an unlikely former Victorian dairy farmer turned national digital crusader.
Gentle created the #ThinkDigitalCoach to drive education programs across regional, rural and remote Australia, bringing new technologies, accommodating school children in open space activities and offering fully equipped, hands on digital labs for teens, adults and seniors.
Gentle said the hi-tech mobile classroom for the bush as the nbn roll out has enabled opportunities to be accessible virtually everywhere in Australia but this means that people must have access to digital education.
“I saw that future success would rely on being able to confidently participate in the digital world. I didn’t want my family or anyone else in the bush to be left behind, or put at risk, through a lack of education.
“I saw amazing opportunities that are now, as the nbn rolls out, accessible virtually everywhere in Australia. Geography will no longer be a barrier to equitable access, but people must have the digital education and confidence required to participate,” he said.
“As I have been spreading the word about the possibilities for regional, rural and remote Australia, I have connected with people who have come on board to support the #ThinkDigitalCoach project.”
According to Gentle, the idea came to him when he answered a question he found online: ‘What would you do if you won a bus’.
#ThinkDigitalCoach was his compelling answer that impressed Young Bus Service CEO, Phil Young, in Rockhampton, and within six weeks, Young’s coach was transformed.
Gentle is seeking support to help the #ThinkDigitalCoach make a real difference for the bush. While the exterior is a mostly blank canvas waiting for the logos of the partnerships and sponsorships, he is seeking at the Broadband for the Bush Forum and beyond, the inside gets fully loaded.
“People and communities must be able to participate in the significant economic development opportunities that exist in the digital world. It’s a very big country; we can’t physically get everywhere we need to go with one coach.
“While we look for support to grow a national #ThinkDigitalCoach network, we will get where we can in person and make a suite of programs available online to provide remote digital education options,” he mentioned.
After the Brisbane Forum concludes, the #ThinkDigitalCoach departs for Byron Bay for a series of workshops and on to a digital roadshow in the Northwest Mallee region in Victoria.