CTEP another example of service in support of digital literacy

TECHdotMIN published an article about the Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. CTEP was a result of organizing efforts by Digital Arts Service Corps members, and has received further capacity building support from our Corps.

While CTEP’s model focuses more on direct service (e.g. teaching) than capacity building (e.g. writing curriculum), like the Digital Arts Service Corps, they recognize that digital literacy needs go far beyond just getting computers into the hands of community members:

“In the 21st Century, access to technology is a crucial social justice and literacy issue,” says Aaron Mendelson, second year CTEP member serving as the News and New Media Training Assistant at KFAI Radio. CTEP arose from discussions in 2001 and 2002 about the technology needs of local organization and the communities which Americorps wanted to serve. The assumption could easily be made that the communities and organizations were lacking computers, but in reality, donated computers always seemed to be the easiest to procure.

Although hardware is essential, it is also the part of a technology center that donors are most likely to fund; what was lacking were the people to design, develop and lead programming around digital literacy.

Like the Digital Arts Service Corps, CTEP is a sometimes overlooked model for digital literacy development:

The work of CTEP received national attention when, in March of this year, the FCC unveiled its National Broadband Plan to Congress. One of the plans major goals is to ensure every American has the opportunity to become digitally literate. The FCC’s key recommendation to achieve this goal is to launch a National Digital Literacy Corps, which would “organize and training youth and adults to teach digital literacy skills and enable private sector programs addressed at breaking adoption barriers.” It is a great approach, and one that was crafted by the founders of CTEP over six years ago.


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