April 20, 2016

NYCH lunch and learn – Enhancing Communications with Immigrants – an Exploration of Immigrant Use of Media – April 2016

Thanks for the opportunity to share your lunch hour with you and talk about you’re using and can use technology in your service provision.

In this presentation/discussion, we looked at:

How do immigrants access information?

  • An overview of immigrants’ use of the internet – pre and post arrival
  • Major trends – summary of TRIEC’s previous IGR research

How can we engage them better in current employment programs and in future program development?

  • The importance of trust & credibility in information provision
  • Look at information problems & overload from their perspective
  • Go to the source, know your audience, importance of personalized information provision
  • Some promising practices in the sector

You also shared a number of ways you’re using technology to serve your clients:

  • Facebook group with students in schools as part of SEPT
  • computers in the ESL classroom for self-directed learning (finding that students bring their digital devices in to use to look up words, etc.)
  • texting clients – both sending information out and responding to questions from clients
  • email – a general tool everyone is using, but also being used for pre-arrival information and referral, responding to questions from immigrants on their way
  • using Eventbrite for program registration
  • an online component for your mentoring project – mentors/mentees blogging, Skype to connect 1-to-1, using surveymonkey.com to have people read and agree to terms of mentoring, confidentiality agreement, etc.
  • having a presence on FB community groups in other languages (Russian, in particular was mentioned) where you’re providing information and referral services to newcomers
  • recently you ran a pilot with online English learning and had both overwhelming interest and a positive experience with the two pilot courses you ran
  • Digital Stories
  • using your website to tell stories about your agency and clients
  • and more!

While we agreed that online services won’t be for all your clients, you discussed how you’re seeing clients who are more computer/technically literate than the agency/staff, and who are ready and want to interact with you via technology, messaging, online learning, etc. You also talked about the potential for technology to reach isolated newcomers and to bring the services to them in a way that wasn’t previously as possible on a large scale.

Here are a number of resources from our session together, including slides, documents and links to additional reading and resources.

Presentation slides (for download and embedded for quick viewing) – NYCH Lunch and Learn – Immigrant use of media – April 19 2016

Additional documents (all in PDF format):

Articles for further reading:

Great examples of innovative agencies offering online and hybrid services across the country:

Here are just a few of the larger English language online social networks where newcomers share information and orientation:

Online security and encryption: