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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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Low-cost Internet options, Comcast special until 3/18

Posted: March 12th, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News  

Seattle was recently named 1 of 15 “Gold Medal” communities nationwide by Comcast. As a result, they’re offering six months of free Internet service through their Internet Essentials program, for eligible households who apply and are approved for their $10/month program by March 18, 2014, next Tuesday.  Their low-income discount is for families with students who qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Comcast is one of several companies in Seattle who offer Internet for low-income residents for around $10/month. They all have income and other eligibility guidelines for the discounted service.  The City of Seattle has more information about these programs and Solid Ground’s program to help residents with the choices on their community technology low cost Internet page.

CenturyLink Internet Basics (866) 541-3330

  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs (broader than Comcast)
  • Internet wired to your home via phone line
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing CenturyLink Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program (855) 846-8376

  • Must have a child eligible for free or reduced lunch
  • Cable Internet wired to your home
  • Laptop purchase available for $150
  • Not eligible if you have existing Comcast Internet service
  • Internet safety and education materials offered

Interconnection/Mobile Citizen (Clear) (206) 633-1517

  • Offers Clear mobile Internet for $8 per month with laptop purchase or about $10 per month without laptop purchase
  • Eligible if on most public assistance programs
  • Refurbished  laptops with a full range of software for $99
  • They have a store in Seattle offering products and assistance

Looking for a computer to use or for computer training? Visit our Free Access to Computers and the Internet page for locations and hours of public access computer centers.

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Technology Matching Fund

Posted: March 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

Awards up to $20,000 in matching funds to community projects which increase resident access to information technology, increase literacy in using technology, and/or apply technology to foster civic engagement and community building. More info here.

Deadline: March 12, 2014

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Lake City computer lab expands its reach

Posted: March 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  
lake city

Participant at the Lake City Computer Lab

The North Seattle Family Center, a program of  Children’s Home Society of Washington, successfully completed a yearlong Technology Matching Fund grant to expand the computer lab at Seattle Housing Authority’s Lake City Court Apartments. The $18,000 in project funds helped 228 low-income and vulnerable residents in North Seattle gain technology access and skills.

Serving a greater diversity  

The project added adaptive equipment to the computer lab, which increased access for individuals with disabilities. Staff also configured the computers to support language capabilities for 35 different languages, including those most commonly found in North Seattle. Participants acquired English language skills through the use of software and internet-based education resources, improving their communication skills in the workplace, the home and in the community. In addition, many  participants received employment readiness training, providing them with technology skills relevant to today’s workplace and increasing their employment opportunities. They also added youth services and open lab time.

Collaboration was key to strong programs

According to Program Manager Ann Fuller, “Collaborating with partnering programs has been key to our lab.” Over the course of the project they worked with Seattle Housing Authority, Seattle Public Library, the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens, the Literacy Council of Seattle, the City of Seattle’s Health Access program, Techno-Formation Vocational Services (an organization focused on Somali women, youth, and elders), and the University of Washington. Bringing youth and adults together led to development of projects connected with activities in the lab, including working with the North District Council to add a basketball pick-up court and developing a pea patch plot for families using the lab.

Success providing access to services and building community connections   

The project’s greatest success was in providing computer and internet access to people who cannot afford or don’t know how to use these services. “So many things are based on computer knowledge and internet access, that children and families are being left behind and missing out on opportunities in business, schools and healthcare,” said Fuller. “We work with people who do not know those services are available, or don’t have the skills to use them.”

Another key outcome was building trust with members of the community. The staff at the lab helped build a trusting relationship by teaching computer use step-by-step and troubleshooting problems. Staff often referred individuals to the center’s family advocacy services for more assistance. Providing Seattle Housing Authority youth with a safe, fun, educational place to be has been another very positive outcome. Youth now come for assistance with not only homework, but also when other challenges face them at home and at school.

For more information on the project contact Ann Fuller at annf@chs-wa.org, or call North Seattle Family Center at 206-364-7930.

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UPDATED: Critical Vulnerability in Apple iOS and OS X

Posted: February 27th, 2014 - News  

UPDATED: 03/04/14

A patch for  Macs [OS X] has now been released by Apple.  Follow the instructions below to update your system.

Apple revealed a major vulnerability in its software that affects its devices, allowing hackers to intercept and alter communications such as email and login credentials.  Apple released a patch for iOS on Friday.  The vulnerability has been confirmed in iOS versions 6.1.5, 7.0.4, and 7.0.5, and OS X 10.9.0 and 10.9.1. Security researchers haven’t ruled out the possibility that earlier versions are also affected. Users should immediately update their iPhones and iPads to versions 7.0.6 or 6.1.6, preferably using a non-public network.

To patch your device(s):

  • Run “Software Update“ from your device’s “settings” menu   – OR -
  • Connect your device to your personal computer, open iTunes, select the device you just connected, and click the “Check for update” button.

For more details, see these articles:

http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/02/extremely-critical-crypto-flaw-in-ios-may-also-affect-fully-patched-macs/

http://web.nvd.nist.gov/view/vuln/detail?vulnId=CVE-2014-1266&cid=2

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Tech Matching Fund Workshop Feb 4

Posted: February 3rd, 2014 - Citizen Advisors, Community Technology, News, Seattle Communities Online  

Attend a Technology Matching Fund grant workshop on Tuesday, February 4 at 6:00 PM.  Here you will learn about the eligibility requirements, how to apply and what makes for a successful application.

The City is awarding matching grants of up to $20,000 per project to increase technology literacy or use of technology tools for civic engagement for Seattle residents.  The deadline to apply is March 12.

The workshop will be held:

Tuesday, February 4, 6:00 to 7:30 PM
Beacon Hill Library
2821 Beacon Avenue S
Seattle, 98144

The City is encouraging applications for community based civic engagement projects that build the digital skills of our residents, raise awareness of city resources online and use the internet, social media and/or mobile devices for community engagement and interaction with government.

For more information on the Technology Matching Fund, including history and success stories, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf, email communitytechnology@seattle.gov or call Delia Burke at 206.233.2751.

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Digital documents for the homeless

Posted: February 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

springwire_2
Have you ever misplaced an important piece of paper, like a birth certificate or an identification card?  A hassle, yes, but not that big a deal. Now imagine if you were homeless. People struggling with homelessness are routinely asked to show documentation in order to access services. However, this documentation is easily lost or destroyed, and it is often difficult and costly to produce the information needed when it’s needed most.

Seattle nonprofit, Springwire, worked to address this problem with a 2012 Tech Matching Fund grant, the “Online Document Access for the homeless” project.  Over the course of a year, Springwire offered scanning services to homeless individuals  at events in Seattle, including multi-day events at the Seattle Public Library, Community Resource Exchange and Financial Fitness Day, as well as individual events at the Urban Rest Stop and Youth Care. Volunteers succeeded in helping 65 homeless men and women digitize their vital papers.

For many clients, the impact of knowing their information was secure was immediate and profound. One Springwire client carried hundreds of pages of handwritten documents that formed the basis of a book she was writing about her life. She had been fearful of moving them into a digital format because as a survivor of domestic violence, she was worried about her abuser finding them. It took a long time to scan them. They were fragile, on wrinkled paper in all shapes and sizes. Once Springwire volunteers transferred her files to a USB flash drive, you could see the joy and relief on her face knowing that her life story was now protected.

Integrating digital document preservation into services provided for the homeless is a model Springwire hopes to continue.  They shared the program design and training materials developed during the pilot to Catholic Community Services for use the King County Coordinated Entry program.

For more information, contact Andrea John Smith andreajs@springwire.us .

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Workshops offered for Technology Matching Funds

Posted: January 17th, 2014 - Community Technology, News  

Student learning technology skillsThe 2014 Technology Matching Fund grant cycle is now open!

The City is awarding matching grants of up to $20,000 per project to increase technology literacy or use of technology tools for civic engagement for Seattle residents.  The deadline to apply is March 12th!

Important dates for grant applicants:

            Thursday, Jan. 30, 10 – 11:30 a.m., free grant workshop
            2100 Building, 2100 24th Avenue South, Seattle

            Tuesday, Feb. 4, 6 – 7:30p.m., free grant workshop
            Beacon Hill Library, 2821 Beacon Avenue South, Seattle

            March 12, Technology Matching Fund application deadline

The free grant workshops will both cover the same information: grant basics, how to apply, grant requirements and what makes a successful application.

The City is encouraging applications for community based civic engagement projects that build the digital skills of our residents, raise awareness of city resources online and use the internet, social media and/or mobile devices for community engagement and interaction with government.

For more information on the Technology Matching Fund, including history and success stories, visit www.seattle.gov/tech/tmf, email communitytechnology@seattle.gov or call Delia Burke at 206.233.2751.

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Tech Matching Funds deadline

Posted: January 1st, 2014 - Brainstorm  

Technology Matching Funds are now available: with a March 12, 2014 deadline.

Apply for a grant up to $20,000 for technology literacy and access or civic engagement projects. New applicants are encouraged to attend a grant information session  at 10 a.m. on Jan. 30, at the 2100 Building (2100 24th Avenue South) or 6 p.m. on Feb. 4, at the Beacon Hill Library (2821 Beacon Avenue South).

Learn more about  how to apply for funds, which projects qualify, and what makes a strong application.

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