Digital Divide: first steps

February 4, 2009

My idea for the Digital Divide project has taken root, and the first steps are laid out for us. Recently I spoke with Aurora Hansen from the Palmer Munroe Community Center and we have set a date for our first workshop and computer giveaway! On February 21st from 1-5pm we will be teaching 5 kids how to build and use their new computers. We are starting with 5 as a sort of test run. It should be a suitably small number to manage, since this will be the first time for most of us teaching kids, and it will be the first time for many of us doing this sort of project.

Sitting in my living room are 8 computers in various states of being. Some have all their parts and will work right now, others have more parts than they should and others still are missing pieces. We will meet up a day or two in advance and test components and select the hardware. We will also want to choose and test a good linux distribution as well as find some good educational and fun content to install. If there is one thing I’ve learned from all the student activities I’ve done it’s that preperation makes for a successful event.

This event will give the cause a solid foundation. How it turns out will determine where we can take this project. The experience we gain will let us know if we want to broaden our focus or scale up our efforts. The more help we have the smoother this event will go, and the smoother it goes the more we can do. I envision that success on February 21st could mean publicity which could mean a large increase in donations. The management of this hardware, as well as proactively seeking out donations and support will become essential to our growth. Already I am running out of space for the donations I have collected from personal connections, so the next step might be to obtain a charitable donation of space.

Like with all ideas, this project is what we make of it. I am really excited about all of the positive feedback I have recieved from friends, family, co-workers and community members. I’m looking forward to the 21st to turn this idea into reality!

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