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In 2013 Samsung Electronics Baltics launched an initiative “Samsung Skola nākotnei” (“Samsung School for the Future”), which aims to provide future opportunities for children and young people by offering programmes that provide greater access to technological skills and opportunities. Initially, the programme were aimed at teachers, and through technology training more than 235 teachers gained news skills to help improve the daily lives of more than 50, 000 students.
In 2017 the programme changed its focus from training teachers to training the youth. A survey conducted by the programme indicated that young people were stuck in the field of entertainment and only a little over half felt that their presence in the digital environment was meaningful. The survey showed that 57% did not know what cloud services were, and admitted that they would benefit from additional programming (88%), cloud computing (71%) and MS Excel (66%), information evaluation knowledge (64%), use of keyboard shortcuts (60%), MS Word (50% ) and MS PowerPoint (45%), as well as tips for finding information (40%).
Therefore a unique online programme "Student Digital IQ" was launched to expand the knowledge of young people and promote meaningful use of technologies. Five training courses were developed, each of which was dedicated to a specific topic - digital content creation, online communication, basic computer skills, democratic participation through digital tools, critical thinking and assessing online information. The program is free of charge and available at www.skolanakotnei.lv.
In 2018 the programme focused on the online behaviour of young people. A "Latvian Youth Netiquette" was created with 16 points of good online behaviour and was presented to the Ministry of Education and Science, as well as sent to all Latvian schools and distributed to youth organizations. In 2019 the main goal of the programme was to promote healthy family communication online and through various digital tools, as the survey conducted showed that 70% of young people face problems online without the help of adults but parents often do not understand the digital environment in which young people live every day.
In the past 4 years the programme has developed free of charge educational materials, good online behaviour aka netiquette guidelines, a family digital health test, guidelines for parents on family's online behaviour, short video for young people and their family. All the materials can be found here.
The draft “Plan for Digitalisation, Preservation in the Long-Term and Ensuring the Availability of Cultural Heritage for 2016-2020” was drafted for the purposes of implementing the digital heritage industry strategy “Digital Cultural Heritage Development Strategy for 2014 – 2020” of the Cultural Policy Guidelines 2014 – 2020 “Creative Latvia” and marks events, which help to implement the priorities set in Creative Latvia and policy goals in the field of digitisation of cultural heritage, preservation in the long term and availability of cultural heritage in the digital environment. Paper documents (pictures, collections, notes, documents), audio/video materials (documentaries, audio records, Latvian Television programmes), cinema and immaterial cultural heritage have been and continue to be digitised within the framework of this project.
According to the Central Statistical Bureau in 2020 89.7% of households had the Internet, while in 2010 only 52.6% of households had the Internet. Consequently, the Internet and especially smartphones are a new and fast-growing platform for audience reach and communication.
According to the research “Study on the Impact of Cultural Consumption and Participation” carried out in 2018, the Internet and new media provide new opportunities for cultural consumption and participation in culture, and can be seen as complementary, rather than a substitute. Those who use cultural content on the Internet are also more active in consuming culture in real life, therefore the development of the Internet, digital culture environment provides a new and wider platform for reaching the audience.
The study shows that 62% of the population use the Internet for various cultural activities but the use of the Internet for cultural activities is very different in different age groups and the most active socio-demographic group is youth aged 15 – 24, where 90% of the surveyed use the Internet for such purposes.
Although the Internet and social networks are an environment where people spend a significant amount of their time daily, the study shows that only a small number of people use the Internet to search for information on cultural activities (22%). In addition, even though the overall indicator of cultural activity on the Internet is high (62% of the population), it should be emphasized that most enjoy foreign films and music online (entertainment culture), but there is less Latvian content consumption and interest in Latvian cultural offerings. The most common cultural activities on the Internet among the population are: watching foreign films online (34%), listening to online music (32%), buying tickets to cultural events (23%), looking for information on cultural events (22%), watching cultural broadcasts on the Internet (19%).
The study also shows that 91% of regular Internet users in Latvia at least once have used Latvian cultural heritage materials in digital format. More than half (55%) have used a small number of materials (up to 6 different types of materials).