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Big-Brained Superheroes Club rocks Yesler CC

Posted: September 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

tmfHave you ever wondered how computers think?  Kids at the Yesler Community Center learning about this and more through workshops hosted by the Big-Brained Superheros Club (BBS), a group whose mission is to tap into the hidden strengths that all young people have through the exploration of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM).

With support from the Technology Matching Fund, the Big Brained Superheros Club offers workshops on digital logic and electronics. While most kids spend ample time on Facebook, Twitter, and multiplayer web games, many of them have no idea how the machine they use every day actually works.  BBS volunteers teach youth how a computer “thinks” by  providing hands-on learning opportunities to build circuits and logic gates. Their circuit lab is modeled after the Exploratorium’s Tinkering Studio Circuit Boards.

Youth attend regular BBS club meetings on Mondays and Wednesdays, starting by reciting the club oath.  They also attend Superhacker Saturdays to prepare for the workshops.   For more information on the project contact Meredith Wenger,   or visit the Big Brained Superhero blog and Facebook page.

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23 projects receive Tech Matching Funds

Posted: August 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

2014 TMF GranteesMayor Murray and the Seattle City Council today announced the 23 organizations that will receive a total of $320,000 in Technology Matching Funds from the City of Seattle. The awardees passed unanimously out of committee. Watch the video here.
“While access to technology has increased for many, there is still a significant gap in the access to and use of technology in Seattle,” said Mayor Murray. “Technology skills are necessary for success in the 21st century and these funds play a critical role in preparing our residents.”

“These funds play an important role in leveling the playing field. They help our must vulnerable residents use technology in innovative and meaningful ways, including seniors, at risk youth, homeless women and children, immigrants and refugees, and people with disabilities,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee.

The money will support projects throughout the city to ensure all Seattleites have access to and proficiency using internet-based technologies. These projects were selected from Seattle’s Technology Advisory Board from more than 67 applicants and will contribute a projected $685,711 in community matching resources, more than double the City’s investment.

The funds will support greater digital equity in Seattle. Several projects will help Seattle build a diverse technology workforce, by providing STEM education programs for youth of color and computer and applications training to immigrants and low-income adults.  Other programs will help seniors and people with disabilities better engage using a variety of tools, including tablets, touch screens and social media. The projects will also enable greater electronic civic participation for many disadvantaged residents.

The 2014 Technology Matching Fund award recipients include:

  • Ballard NW Senior Center
  • Casa Latina
  • North Seattle Family Center/ Children’s Home Society of WA
  • Denny Terrace Computer Lab
  • Elizabeth Gregory Home
  • Filipino Community of Seattle
  • Helping Link
  • Hilltop House
  • Lao Women Association of Washington
  • Literacy Source
  • North Seattle Boys & Girls Club
  • Northaven Retirement and Assisted Living
  • Open Doors for Multicultural Families/STAR Center at Center Park
  • Ross Manor Computer Lab
  • Seattle Neighborhood Coalition
  • Solid Ground Sand Point Housing Campus
  • Somali Community Services of Seattle
  • South Park Area Redevelopment Center
  • The Jefferson Terrace Computer Lab Committee
  • University of Washington Women’s Center
  • Vietnamese Friendship Association
  • Washington Community Alliance for Self-Help (CASH)
  • YMCA of Greater Seattle – Y @ Cascade People’s Center.

For more information and a map of Technology Matching Fund awardees go here.

 

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Get Online Seattle provides online job resources & tools

Posted: July 18th, 2014 - Community Technology, News  

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NEWS RELEASE

Get Online Seattle provides online job resources and tools

SEATTLE (July 17, 2014) The City of Seattle has launched Get Online: Jobs & the Internet, an online toolbox for residents who are new to job searching on the web. The Seattle.gov/getonline web site and print materials provide information to help understand and manage your online presence, use the right tools for your job search, and tips for making job connections both on and offline.

Get Online Seattle education materials also promote options for affordable home Internet and locations with free access to computers and the Internet.

“Using the Internet is critical to finding and applying for jobs,” says Michael Mattmiller, Acting Chief Technology Officer for the City of Seattle. “This campaign is part of our effort to advance digital equity – ensuring all Seattleites have access to and proficiency using internet-based technologies.”

Jobs & the Internet is the second topic of the ongoing Get Online Seattle campaign to provide residents with the necessary skills to navigate the Internet, find content relevant to their needs, and access affordable Internet. The first topic focused on health resources, including what to look for in a reputable health site and what sites to avoid. The next Get Online Seattle campaign, to be launched in October, will focus on learning and education resources.

Visit www.seattle.gov/getonline for more information about the jobs campaign, resources and tips for use. Posters and leaflets are also available via the web site or by calling 206-233-7877.

The Get Online Seattle: Jobs & the Internet campaign is run by the City of Seattle’s Community Technology Program in partnership with the City’s Citizens Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Goodwill, and YWCA Works.

The City of Seattle’s Department of Information Technology’s Community Technology Program works to ensure all residents have the opportunity to access online city services and get online for civic and cultural participation, education, and employment. For more information, visit http://www.seattle.gov/tech/.

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Contact Vicky Yuki at vicky.yuki@seattle.gov or 206-233-7877 for more information

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Youth get robots rockin’ in Seattle’s 98118

Posted: July 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  
NewHolly youth with their robotics creations

NewHolly youth with their robotics creations

Written by Beryl Fernandes, Ph.D., a member of CTTAB, and an urban planning/management consultant.

Contagious! That’s the children’s enthusiasm and excitement at programming and watching their robots follow intended or unintended pre-programmed directions. Claps and screams of delight get everyone’s attention when a team’s robot makes the circuit flawlessly. Uncontainable!

One of the most diverse zip codes in the country according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the youth of this robotics program defy often-held myths about them. Enrolled in a 10-week STEAM Lab (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) program at the Filipino Community of Seattle, young women and men, ages 6-16, from more than a dozen ethnic backgrounds, learn math, take apart computers, re-build them, build robots, and program the “bots” to follow directions.

Funded by City of Seattle’s Technology Matching Fund, the program requires repeated testing, trial and error. Students learn to “fail fast and fail often” – one of life’s many lessons imparted by their esteemed volunteer STEAM Lab Program Director, Jon Madamba. An electrical engineer and computer consultant, Jon asserts with exuberance, that each youth has everything it takes “to become our next generation of leaders.”  He wants them, “empowered to positively impact their families’ trajectory no matter what obstacles they face in life.  The STEAM Labs provide access and equality to build confidence as future innovators.”

Supported by other volunteer instructors and mentors, these youth prove they thrive in this challenging, nurturing environment. East African Community Services (a STEAM Lab partner), Executive Director Faisal Jama wants to provide exposure for all youth, but girls in particular, demystify it, and make it a career option. Students use a drag ‘n drop program and casually refer to robot components – the brick, brain, motors, legs, ultra sonic sensors, and color sensors.

Tim Leavitt, a volunteer instructor, says the labs provide real-world use of math, science and technology learned in school, by applying them to practical problem-solving. A 6-year old girl said she had the most fun building and testing the robot. A 7-year old boy was confident he could re-program a robot to do anything. A parent commented on teamwork in this program, where every child chooses a role such as programmer, project manager, builder, inventory, etc. Another parent liked the confidence gained from the kid-teaching-kid component. One parent asked her 10-year old daughter if she could clean up her room that fast, and the girl replied, “No, but I can program a robot to do it!” A mentor beamed, saying he loved seeing kids’ faces light up. “They are inventors!” he exclaimed.

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Report looks at how Seattleites use technology and barriers

Posted: June 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

high-speed-internet-chartDid you know Seattle residents now have more laptops than desktop computers? Or that those with less education tend to make less use of the Internet?

The City of Seattle has just released new findings on technology access, adoption, social media use and civic participation by Seattle residents. These are available at seattle.gov/tech/indicators with key findings available in multiple languages.
A video presentation and discussion is also available to view.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

The findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups with immigrant, disabled and African American communities, to ensure the City heard from those who are often under-represented in surveys or are historically technologically-underserved.
The continued rise of smart phone and tablet use provides outstanding opportunities for government to reach more residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “The information from the focus groups will help us improve services and how we reach all communities. We will take action on improving access to web services by making them available in multiple languages.”

Since 2000, the City’s Community Technology Program has conducted community research to find out how Seattle residents are using technology, and barriers to use. The results of this research are used by the City in a variety of ways, including to guide our Technology Matching Fund awards, cable franchising, and public information and engagement efforts by a wide range of City departments. It also provides data that non-profits and schools can use in grant proposals and to strategic planning.
Here are a few of the findings:

• 85 percent of Seattle residents have Internet at home, leaving about 93,000 Seattle residents without home Internet.
• 58 percent of Seattle residents now own smart phones, up from 35 percent in 2009.
• Education and age are the most significant factors differentiating technology access and adoption, but the data also shows important differences based on the income, ethnicity, and abilities of those surveyed.
• Broadband and cable TV prices continue to be of concern, but increasing broadband speed is important to those surveyed, with high interest in using higher bandwidth applications.
• The study finds that there is still a significant gap in access to Internet and the skills to use it, though the digital equity gap is more focused in skills and uses of the Internet than on basic access.

See much more on the Technology Access and Adoption Report page.

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Report highlights how Seattleites use technology

Posted: May 23rd, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, Director's Desk, E-Government, News, Tech Boss Banter  

SEATTLE 5/23 - At a launch event last night, the City of Seattle released new findings on technology access, adoption and interaction by Seattle residents. These findings are based on feedback from 2,600 residents via online and phone surveys and in-person focus groups in multiple languages about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.

“This data shows that we’re making great strides in technology, but a digital gap still exists between our neighbors,” said Mayor Ed Murray. “We’re already using the data in this report to influence how the City of Seattle interacts with our neighbors and to better target our outreach and engagement strategies.”

Every four years the City of Seattle conducts community research to find out how Seattle residents are using technology.The technology adoption study findings were detailed at the interactive launch event, and are available online at www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators. The summary of findings and recommendations are available in multiple languages.

“The continued rise of smart phone and tablet use provides outstanding opportunities for government to reach more residents,” said Councilmember Bruce Harrell, chair of the Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Technology Committee. “The information from the focus groups will help us improve services and how we reach all communities. We will take action on improving access to web services by making them available in multiple languages.”

Since 2000, the City’s Community Technology Program has been collecting extensive and statistically valid data on residential use of cable TV, broadband adoption and uses (including health, work, education, finance and civic engagement), barriers to broadband adoption, use of online city services, and customer service needs. The measures used were based on goals for a technology-healthy city developed in collaboration with the City’s volunteer Technology Advisory Board.

Nine focus groups were also conducted to help understand the needs of communities who are often under-represented in the online and phone surveys or may be technologically-underserved.

Findings of the report include:

  • The report finds that 85 percent of Seattle residents have Internet at home and that more residents now own laptops than desktop computers.
  • Since 2009, Seattle has seen mobile phone ownership grow by 11 percent (80 to 89 percent), and has seen a 66 percent growth in the number of residents with smart phones (35 to 58 percent).
  • Broadband and cable TV prices continue to be of concern, but increasing broadband speed is important to those surveyed, with high interest in using higher bandwidth applications.
  • Cable subscribership has dropped 13 percent in the past four years as options for viewing video over the internet have grown.
  • Lower income residents have lower-speed broadband service, though a broad cross section of Seattle residents are interested in using higher speed internet services for activities like medical appointments or taking classes.
  • The study funds that there is still a significant gap in access to internet and the skills to use it, though the digital equity gap is more focused in skills and uses of the internet than on basic access.
  • Email was noted as the preferred way for residents to give their opinion to a community group or the City.
  • Education and age are the most significant factors differentiating technology access and adoption, but the data also shows important differences based on the income, ethnicity, and abilities of those surveyed.
  • The research also found that those with less education tend to make less use of the internet than users with more education.

For more information, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators or contact communitytechnology@seattle.gov or 206-386-9759.

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Seattle: How online are we? Find out May 22nd at 6 p.m.!

Posted: May 12th, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, Director's Desk, E-Government, News, Seattle Communities Online, Tech Boss Banter  

Join us May 22nd, 6-8 p.m. at Seattle Goodwill’s new training center as we release new findings on technology access and adoption by Seattle residents.

Learn what more than 2,600 residents who participated in phone and online surveys and focus groups in multiple languages had to say about their use, concerns, and barriers to using the Internet, social media, cable TV and online government services.  We will also present information about how to communicate with immigrant and refugee communities.  This forum is being presented by the Department of Information Technology and the City’s Technology Advisory Board, with assistance from the Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs and Seattle Public Library. Copies of the report will be available at the event and released online after the event.

The new report includes information about:
Do residents have more laptops or smartphones? Is everyone using Facebook now? Which is more important, better Internet speed or price?  How do people want to give their opinion or get community information? How do people use high speed Internet and cable TV? How can education, business, social services and government use this data to help close the digital divide and reach diverse residents?

Location: Seattle Goodwill’s training center is located at 700 Dearborn Place S, at the northwest corner of South Dearborn and Rainier Ave, just off the I-90 Dearborn exit or #7 or 9 bus.  Free parking is available. See it on Google Maps

For more information about this event, contact: communitytechnology@seattle.gov or call 206-233-7877 or visit www.seattle.gov/tech/indicators.  Interpreters available upon request. Please request interpreters by May 16th.

Please join the conversation about how Seattle comes together to keep ensuring we are a leading tech city that also cares about digital equity & diversity.

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El Centro De La Raza helps seniors and youth get online

Posted: May 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

DigitalConnectorsIIIWith support from the Tech Matching Fund, El Centro de la Raza has expanded Wi-Fi access in its building on Beacon Hill.   By strategically placing nine routers at key locations throughout the building, they now have seamless Wi-Fi coverage throughout the facility.

This has particularly benefited the 125 seniors who come to El Centro for the Senior Wellness Program.   Many of these seniors are isolated due to age, mobility issues and language and cultural barriers.   El Centro provides hands-on training to the seniors, who are often intimidated by new technologies and computers in general.  Volunteers use Century Link Internet Basics curriculum to teach Windows basics, web browsing and using the Internet safely, accessing information online, sending and receiving e-mail, and using social media including Facebook.  The seniors now have an affordable option to browse the Internet and communicate with friends and family in Latin America and Asia.

The wireless access has also supported the Comcast Digital Connectors Program for 18 youth ages 14-21, for two hours, twice a week.  These workshops are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30-6:30 PM and support high school age youth to improve their digital literacy and close the digital divide for low-income youth of color.

For more information on the project contact Miguel Maestes at associate@elcentrodelaraza.org, (206) 957-4650.

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826 Seattle gets a technology boost

Posted: April 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  
826 Seattle student during after school time

826 Seattle student during after school time

826 Seattle is a nonprofit writing and tutoring center dedicated to empowering young people—particularly disadvantaged youth who risk academic failure due to socioeconomic or language barriers—with the confidence and skills to communicate their personal stories through writing.  Their services are structured around the belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention, and that proficiency in writing helps children become more engaged in school and ultimately grow into successful adults.

With a $14,326 grant from the Technology Matching Fund last year, 826 Seattle gave their computer lab a much needed makeover.   They brought in four new iMacs, five laptops,  an iPad and a digital microphone.   Volunteers did everything necessary to get the lab up to speed, including wiping the old computers clean and recycling them.

The new technology suite benefits the students in many ways.  More than 1,000 students came to the center during the first six months of the project to participate in innovative writing workshops on topics ranging from “Snarky and Hallmark-y: Writing Your Own Greeting Cards” to “Before Texting: The Power of Historical Letters.”

More than 150 students also used the computer lab for homework completion.  Technological access is an integral part of students’ daily homework routine, whether it is checking a school website for assignments and grades, doing internet-based research for school projects, or completing mandatory online daily math practice drills.  First grader Nehemiah (pictured above)  listened to jazz and studied jazz history.

If you look for the center in the Greenwood neighborhood, you won’t find a traditional tutoring center sign on the front door.  It’s discreetly tucked away behind the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Company,  a retail store that sells space-themed novelties and toys.

For more information on the project, contact Peggy Jackson.

 

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Help guide City’s strategies and investments in technology

Posted: March 18th, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, Director's Desk  

The City of Seattle is looking for volunteers to join the Citizens’ Telecommunications and Technology Advisory Board (CTTAB). The 10-member board and its committees help guide city strategies and investments in technology and telecommunications. We are currently looking for someone to fill one regular two-year position appointed by the Mayor and additional volunteer positions on committees of the Board.

CTTAB addresses broadband deployment and adoption, mobile and web based services for Seattle.gov, social media, open data, online public engagement, the Seattle Channel, cable TV franchise agreements, Technology Matching Fund grants and efforts to close the digital divide.

The City of Seattle promotes diversity in its boards and commissions. We encourage people with multicultural backgrounds or work experience to apply. We also encourage applications from those who have worked with a diverse population. You do not need to be a techie to care about Seattle’s digital future.

Applications are being accepted through April 3, 2014. Apply by sending your resume and a letter of interest to CommunityTechnology@seattle.gov. (PDFs or Word documents are preferred)

To be a Board member appointed by the Mayor or Council:

  • You must live or work in City of Seattle
  • This is a two-year appointment, potentially renewable for one additional term
  • Time commitment (Five-10 hours per month, depending upon activity)
  • Attendance at monthly meetings (the evening of the second Tuesday of each month)
  • Service to the board expected to begin May 13, 2014
  • Must participate in at least one CTTAB committee
  • Applicant must not be employed by the City of Seattle
  • Must not serve on more than one City of Seattle board or commission

Committee volunteer members have more flexibility in their term of service and who may be on a committee.


For questions email Community Technology or call Megan Coppersmith at 206-233-8736.

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