computers in the home

Computers in the Home Flyer

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A flyer promoting a computers in the home program created by corps member Devon Smolca for her home computer initiative, L@TCH.

Program Development

VISTA Name: 
Naomi Jimenez
Program Start: 
1/2007
Program End: 
1/2008
Project Description: 

Naomi’s responsibilities were many and varied. At the beginning of the year, she assisted in the major redesign of our website, www.otxwest.org. Using tools such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and others, she added to visual elements as well as rewrote a significant amount of the content and reworked the navigation. Her technical duties consisted of helping to coordinate the installation of labs in schools and community centers. She worked with our network specialists to set up and occasionally maintain labs both in in schools and at community centers in various locations around Oakland. In addition, she often participated in our Tech Support Day, which is the day when recipients of our refurbished computers can come in and have their computers repaired or receive one-on-one instruction. She also assisted in the instruction of both our Take Home Computer Program, as well as four digital storytelling workshops, which varied in length from 2 days to four weeks. She would also occasionally supervise our volunteers.

Project Outcome: 

Naomi enhanced the existing curriculum for our Take Home Computer Program curriculum, adding about 10 additional pages to our training manual, which covers basic computer maintenance and internet safety. She also created various instructional handouts for our digital storytelling classes. She was directly responsible for an increase in the attendance of our Take Home Computer Program by at least 300 students, which is roughly one third more than last year. She also helped upwards of 270 students become confident in the use of multimedia software during our digital storytelling classes. She also increased her technology skills, both software and hardware. She went from having little to no experience using audio and image editing software, to being knowledgeable enough to teach others how to use them. She went from being slightly nervous speaking in front of a group, to being a commanding and effective presence in the classroom.

Although it isn’t particularly specific, Naomi’s digital story “California Dreaming” inspired many students to learn to use the multimedia programs. It never failed to get applause when we played it in class.

Computer Distribution Coordinator

VISTA Name: 
Wilson Bull
Program Start: 
8/2008
Program End: 
8/2009
Project Description: 

The TechREACH Alliance Project (TAP) is a partnership between the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology (PSCTLT), Wilderness Technology Alliance and the TEConnections program to increase technology access and literacy in underserved communities located in Eastern Washington and Western Washington. TAP will provide technology literacy training and a refurbished computer with Internet access to people from low-income households via established partnerships with schools, DSHS, community colleges, and/or community centers.

The TechREACH VISTA will be involved in a broad range of work from administrative details to program design and implementation.

Specific responsibilities include:

• Coordinate a Train the Trainer workshop for teachers and student leaders

• Offer Technical Assistance Workshops to low-income families focused on building technology skills and awareness of resources to help families improve self-sufficiency and workplace skills

• Support after school clubs for middle and high school students in which students refurbish computers for deployment into low-income communities

• Develop partnerships with businesses, colleges and community-based organizations to support program goals and sustainability

• Assist in the development of a student-led telephone and technical support system

• Monitor and provide technical assistance to sites

• Develop and research resources to support program initiative

• Plan events in which project participants will share project results and impact

Project Outcome: 

As the coordinator for the TechREACH Alliance Project, Will worked extensively on coordination, assisting with training, distributing computers, and capacity building. To begin his year of service he helped to coordinate and lead a Train the Trainer workshop for teachers and student leaders. At this workshop he also provided some new curriculum to the club leaders which provided more details about taking apart computers and troubleshooting.

After this event which kicked off the second year of the project he spent more time on supporting the after-school clubs. Checking in with club leaders to share and learn best practices was an important aspect of his work. As the year progressed he began to assist in distributing the refurbished computers at each of the ten clubs.

All in all, we’ve had nine clubs out of ten distribute computers and Will helped club leaders distribute at least 100 computers out to families. The distributions also required a lot of research and awareness of community resources such as training opportunities and internet services providers. His research in compiling these resources highlighted the need for training opportunities and internet access in Washington State. As well as utilizing partnerships with the Wilderness Technology Alliance and TEConnections to get the computers out to clubs, he created new ones with the Bridges Project of Central Washington University and Genext Communications. He worked with the Bridges Project to provide training in a rural area that does not have any local computer training options. Genext helped to provide internet access to areas not covered by our other ISP partner, Webband. The TechREACH Director and other TechREACH staff supported our VISTA in his work.

Will testified multiple times in front of Washington State legislators about the importance of broadband access and education. In addition, he helped advocate for a critical fix to the E-Waste legislation in Washington that would have prevented thousands of computers from being refurbished for distribution to low-income families.

Impact Quote: 

Will’s enthusiasm and energy was felt across the organization. The work that he did will inform a future proposal that the Communities Connect Network is submitting to support community technology and increase demand for broadband access in our state. In addition, the curriculum he helped to develop will be disseminated widely.”
- Karen Manuel

L@TCH Program Developer

VISTA Name: 
Devon Smolca
Program Start: 
9/2010
Program End: 
9/2011
Project Description: 

The Corps member will build on relationships staff create with local school partners, community-based groups, non-profits, corporations and funders to develop strategies and resources (volunteers, computer donations and funding) for community technology adoption programs. Specifically the L@TCH home computer program which distributes computers to the families of K-12 students that are attending Baltimore City schools.

Project Outcome: 

The program has moved closer to becoming a sustainable model. We have a better idea of how schools can adopt the program with fewer resources from us. There is greater awareness of the L@TCH program, HEBCAC and CCTS in the community. Devon has helped HEBCAC expand their hardware resources to support the computer refurbishing center The program did not meet its objective of 500 systems distributed (331) We need to distribute 70 more system to meet adjusted goal. We will continue to engage schools around a model where they find the resources to underwrite the cost of the systems for their students, and engage teachers to use the educational resources installed on the systems, and use email more to communicate with families.

Impact Quote: 

Devon contributed greatly to the following outcomes: Three hundred fifty families took a L@TCH computer home during the 2010-2011 school year. Students in grades Pre K- 11th in six Baltimore City public schools. All the parents of these students attended one of the 20 Family Computer Workshops held to raise awareness to the responsibilities of having a computer with Internet access in the home and how to use technology to improve the home learning environment. Our L@TCH families have an average of three students per family which means these L@TCH computers have impacted almost 1,000 students. So far two schools are planning to continue the program in their schools and we have yet to meet with the other six schools.

Program Development

VISTA Name: 
Jeff Benton
Program Start: 
8/2005
Program End: 
8/2006
Project Description: 

The VISTA would be involved in a variey of activities including assisting and acting as a trainer in our Introductory computer classes for families, and working with volunteers to prepare the home computers that are critical to our community. The member would also be instrumental in building our second classroom, defining and preparing curriculum for delivery in this “high end”, multimedia learning environment. The member would become familiar with and provide assistance in our other areas including our “Cyber High at home” program.

Project Outcome: 

Jeff has taken the lead role in building our second classroom. This was completed the middle of February. Jeff is very effective in identifying what needs to be done and completing it with quality. He is an integral part of all aspects of our home computer program including scheduling and coordinating families in our classes, coordinating the work of adult and youth volunteers, and many, many other things that are needed in a small organization with a big mission.

Jeff has also attended a KQED workshop on digital story telling and is working with Domingo Vaszuez, a multimedia professional, to finalize the curriculum for our upcoming digital story telling pilot workshop. The workshop has been scheduled, 20 students have been selected, and all is a go for the week of Spring Break, April 10-14.

We are currently working with project SOAR to schedule 200-300 7th graders into our summer technology workshop. This one week workshop, for 6 separate sessions, will run from June 26 to August 4. We will be updating our first classroom to also accomodate the students. The curriculum we will use will be that piloted in April. Jeff is involved in every detail of this large, (and new to us) endeavor.

CTC Program Building

Organization: 
Technology for All
VISTA Name: 
Hilda Puente
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

Hilda Puente has been involved in capacity building with TFA’s Mission Milby Community Technology Center (MMCTC) and with our work with Houston area CTCs. Hilda’s involvement with MMCTC has centered around the development of the Learn and Earn a computer program with students from Milby High School. Students from Milby High School participating in MMCTC programs are able to “learn and earn” a computer. The program has allowed 40 students to receive computers for use in their homes.

Three classes of students (10-15 in each class) have participated in this program that was created in collaboration with Pete Rodriguez, another CTCVista with TFA. In addition, Hilda has been significantly involved in developing supportive relationships with the 180 plus community organizations with CTCs across Houston that we work with. This has been a significant capacity building activity.

Hilda’s major objective was to help strengthen relationships with TFA CTCs in the Houston area. Hilda is a person who identifies a task and works at that task until it is accomplished.

Her work always proved to be more than adequate, and she was always conscious of the need to complete her tasks in a timely manner. Near the end of the summer when she began taking a preparatory course for graduate school, Hilda seemed to lose focus on her TFA responsibilities. She enrolled in the class without her supervisor’s knowledge. A scheduling conflict with the class caused Hilda to miss the CTCNet conference.

Project Outcome: 

Hilda Puente’s year of service with Technology For All was a positive and growing experience for both Hilda and TFA. She helped build and strengthen relationships with many of our CTCs, which accomplished her goals.

CTC Assistance

Organization: 
Open Spaces CTC
VISTA Name: 
Ethan Molitch-Hou
Program Start: 
8/2003
Program End: 
8/2004
Project Description: 

The first half of Ethan’s term was spent generating community interest in learning technology and helping community members develop the confidence to learn more. The second half of the term was focused on expanding that interest to self-study and home use, and to continue the access to learning. During the course of the year, over 130 users were involved in introductory computer classes, logging roughly 1400 user hours. Among other things, these classes built community capacity, a cadre of volunteers, and led Big Bend Community College (BBCC) to develop partnerships and open new computer labs in Mattawa and Royal City.

Ethan visited a CTC nearby in Kennewick that worked on getting refurbished computers into the homes. They taught him that labs were not enough to get sufficient technology access to our students on a more consistent basis and that real progress for most students was dependent on there being computers in the home. The RECA Foundation in Kennewick became our resource for refurbished computers. Ethan was able to get computers into many of the students’ homes in Royal City and Mattawa. The computers are geared more towards families and give kids a basis for learning. They have security in place to prevent major problems from occurring to the operating system. The major drawback with these computers is that they do not allow changes to the system and are not configured for use of the Internet. However, as a beginning computer for families, they are perfect because they aren’t susceptible to viruses; as students become more comfortable with the computers, they can later invest in one that is Internet-ready. In the meantime, Internet access and ESL software remains available in the community labs.

Project Outcome: 

Ethan helped bring much needed training to four very small rural communities in Central Washington. Bi-lingual computer training was made available to hundreds of predominantly monolingual Spanish-speaking Hispanic agricultural workers and their families. Students were able to take advantage of their abilities to learn the technology quickly, accessing information as well as learning ESL and other skills. Young and old were able to learn together and the volunteer base grew. As more and more young students begin coming in, we are able to take advantage of their abilities to learn the technology quickly. We allowed them to teach each other as they naturally seemed to do. The labs in Mattawa and Royal City developed a sense of community, as people of all ages worked simultaneously and without fear in asking for help from one another.

The development of skills and confidence that was nurtured in the community labs led to more individual commitment to purchase computers for home use. As a result, these communities not only have new community labs, but a group of adults and children who are able to continue to deepen their knowledge and use of computers at home.

CTC Program Building

VISTA Name: 
Margaret Goodwyn
Program Start: 
8/2002
Program End: 
8/2003
Project Description: 

Margaret is developing a system of technical support for our computer center as well as a curriculum for computer certification classes.

Project Outcome: 

Margaret has been progressing remarkably well in her VISTA year. She has progressing well in developing a system of technical support for our computer center. Margaret has developed a system where most of our computers are using the same drive image. This allows us to re-image computers in just a few minutes if any problems occur. Margaret has also been repairing computers donated to our computer center and has distributed 50 computers to individuals and organizations through an earn-a-computer program.

Margaret has developed a system where most of our computers are using the same drive image. This allows us to re-image computers in just a few minutes if any problems occur. Margaret has also been repairing computers donated to our computer center and should be distributing between 50-100 computers to individuals and organizations.

Margaret has also developed curriculum for our A+ certification class and tested it with over 15 students last semester. About 5 of her students have returned this semester to volunteer to teach classes. Margaret has also developed curriculum for our Microsoft Certified System Engineer courses. Last semester she developed curriculum for our Windows 2000 Server course, and this semester she developed curriculum for our Windows 2000 Networking course, with about 30 students in total between the two courses.

There have been no major difficulties for Margaret in her VISTA year. After completing her year, we have decided to hire Margaret as staff.

Transmission Project