A very-very rough draft of an excerpt from my paper!

December 5, 2007

There is a growing need for technical skills in today’s society.  According to Horan and Wells “’acquiring and applying knowledge will increasingly become the key competitive factor – for career and earnings opportunities of individuals …’” (p. 28).  Information and technology skills are much needed for individuals to succeed in the job market.  Information and Technology Communities (ICTs) are needed to help develop these skills.  According to Ahmed “there is a consensus that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) hold great promise for development by connecting people to more accurate and up-to-date sources of information and knowledge” (p. 337).  Having access to ICTs can help people in disadvantaged communities receive the technical skills that can help them compete with others who have technical skills.  Access to information can help improve the lives of individuals as well.  Horan and Wells state in their article “… the potential role of ICTs might play in enabling improvements in community learning, health care, and other important services” (p.35). 


My thoughts on my paper so far

December 5, 2007

What is the central question you paper speaks to?

The central questions are: are ICTs important, are digital communities that provide services to citizens especially in disadvantage neighborhoods important.

What are the most relevant theories?

The relevant theories are the importance of ICTs, the Digital Divide that exists, providing support for Digital Communities or people and organizations who provide the services, and are Digital Communities relevant in today’s society.

Who are your straw people?

I just have a host of article by: Ahmed, Megwa, Horan & Wells among others. Sorry I can’t open EndNote on these computers, but if I could I would put my whole Bib. list.  I keep coming up with ideas after reading the articles. One thing I wanted find out more on after reading an article on the Digital Divide were the Yurok Indians of California. The article had mentioned how they do not even have electricity to receive computer technology. I wanted to know what has happened to them since this article was written (back in 2000).  I was want to know where the issues facing the Digital Divide stand as of today. I keep looking for materials so I’ll see how it turns out.

What are your tentative findings?

I think there is a divide in who has access to computer technology.  The programs are needed, and they are out there.  However, I think that for right now money may need to be spent elsewhere such as Black-on-Black crime.  I also feel that some programs are out there, but will people take advantage of it.  I feel they will not. Plus, there needs to be awareness of programs (Digital Communities) that do offer programs.

My topic for my paper

November 27, 2007

For my paper I want to focus on Digital Communities that offer computer services to people. Digital Communities help to bridge the gap in the Digital Divide. The following is a very rough draft of my outline. I must admit I haven’t started to actually write my paper as of yet. I am hoping to get to it this week when my daughter goes to visit her father. I need to give it my undivided attention real soon. 

However, I hope that this is enough for the exercise we will be doing in class on Wednesday. I do have a sources that I will be using, but I don’t have an actual bib., because I haven’t written out. 


I.                    Introduction

II.                 Digital communities

1.      Senior Net

2.      What they are

3.      What they do

4.      How they serve people

5.      Mission

III.               Digital Divide

IV.              Ways to bridge the gap

V.                 My personal experience with service learning

VI.              Conclusion


Working with others that aren’t considered part of the Digital Divide

November 21, 2007

Last night I had the opportunity to help my brother look up magazines he found on the job to see if they were worth anything. I thought it was interesting having my brother say he knows how to use the computer and internet, but when I observed him it seemed otherwise. He kept telling me he knows how. My brother works for the Public Works Department. In his job he is not required to use the computer. It made me wonder about people who do not use the computer on their jobs; how do they keep up with technology? In some way my brother and people like him can too be considered a part of the Digital Divide. I have to say my brother was the first person I knew who had pager when they first came out, and a cell phone when they first came out so he knows about technology he just doesn’t use it that often. He doesn’t own a computer, and he keeps saying he is going to get one. He also has some college credits. How do we serve people like this? He is not a senior or under the age of 18. He is just to busy to sit down and work on the computer especially if he doesn’t have to.

Happy Turkey Week

November 21, 2007

Running turkey          


This week I hope to start my paper. I feel so behind.  I am having a hard time thinking of what to say.  However, I do have an outline so I will go from there. 

Sense it is a holiday weekend, I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.


P.S. Click on the bald headed turkey.

Picture my first class at Lutheran Services Society

November 13, 2007

Lutheran Services SocietyPicture of me at Lutheran Services Society.

Day three was interesting.  Jack, the instructor, emailed me a copy the picture that was taken on the first day of class.  I decided to post it to my blog.  This was full class today.  This day the students worked on more practice with the mouse, opening, and closing documents.  They also worked on cut and paste.  Software that was used was Paint.  Last week we used paint it was kind of easy. This week we used paint to do things that might not ordinarily do in Paint such as cut and paste letters.  Today the students seemed to have a hard time doing this.  It took us quite awhile to get through the exercises.  I am not sure why I think it is, because they may not have practiced what they have learned so far.  Some students have home computers, but not many.  However, most were getting it, but it will take more practice.  Mostly they need to feel comfortable using the mouse.  I will miss the last class due to personal reasons.  I was told that once the last class is over students can sign up for the next round of classes which will be on how to use the Internet.

Day 2 – Lutheran Service Society

November 9, 2007

This week I spent another two hours at Lutheran Services Society.  It was much better this time around.  The students were still focusing on basic computer skills such as how to operate the mouse and open/close applications.  The instructor had them work on exercises that focused on mouse skills.  The instructor makes it very relaxed to work and learn.  There was one student who was a little frustrated about learning, and felt stupid.  I can relate to her.  I hope she comes back next week and continue.  I think she will feel better about learning basic computer skills if she keeps it up. 

I will need to go to another place to get more hours.  I am still trying to figure out what to focus on for my paper. I am leaning towards digital communities. How many digital communities there are in Pittsburgh, what they offer, and most importantly what they are.  I feel that digital communities provide a needed resource.  Some of the seniors in the class feel that the class is very helpful to them, and as I observe I think that it is needed.  How else will they learn how to use computer technology. We people who know how to use computer technology take it for granted.  However, I felt proud to be there, and to be able to help with whatever skills I may have.  I do however need to boost my self-confidence which has been a problem of mine for quite sometime.  Not sure how to do this, but hopefully it will come.

One more thing: Shulman asked what will we do with information from Lessig. I think that we will be more aware of the issues of code, regulations, and architecture.  We may not have thought about it much, at least I haven’t.  I will be more aware of what’s going on in the development of computer technology, and how it relates to the user.

Day 1

October 31, 2007

Yesterday, I went to Lutheran Services Society for my first service learning experience.  It was a church that had various classes offered to senior citizens.  I was in a computer class for beginners. The program has been operating since 2000 and it is part of Senior Net. The website for Senior Net is seniornet.org. Norm Mass the supervisor of the center said they only allow between 7-8 students at a time to ensure that everyone can be helped with one-on-one coaches.  The class had an instructor and two coaches that walked around the room to help assists students if they needed help.  The instructors and coaches all must complete training before working in the class this is why I can only observe due to the fact that it would take me more time then allowed.  Also Norm stated that they prefer to have seniors teach the class due to the compatibility with the students in terms of age.  They did let me come in to observe which is normally against their policy; for which I am grateful.  Students were given a handout which consisted of how to turn on the computer, how to use the mouse, and how to open/close a document, and how to play solitaire.  The class was focused on the very basic computer operating skills.  The class is two-hours long and students were given a 10-minute break.  After the break the instructor went over what was learned.  The learning environment was meant to be very relaxing, and when students asked questions their questions were put down but instead encouraged.  The instructor encouraged the students by stating that the questions were not stupid, and that is why they are here to learn.  He further went on to help students when needed.  The instructor’s background is in Firefighting.  I didn’t have a chance to ask a lot of questions due to time, and other matters.  Students do have a chance to come to open lab hours during the week to practice what they learned.  A couple of students stated they were retired teachers.  One was a speech teacher, and the other lady was a retired teacher from the University of Pittsburgh where she worked as a teacher in the education department.  The classroom itself looked very much like a regular computer classroom.  The instructor gave instructions on how to use the keyboard in case there were some students who couldn’t use the mouse.  One student had a hard time operating the mouse due to not being used to operating it.  The exercised were designed for this.


After the class was over, I did want to scream.  At the end of the class the instructor took wanted a picture of everyone, and they wanted me in it to.  I complied but I did not feel comfortable since it was the first time meeting them.  The lady that was the retired teacher from Pitt wanted me to help her with an online resume.  I felt I could not do this due to the fact that I was there to observe (not permitted to help out), plus time constraints (I had to go to class and I am very busy during the week), and I felt after the classes are over she should be able to do it for herself.  After I got home, I did feel a bit used, or like she was trying to take advantage of me, because I was there.  I would be glad to help, but I do have other responsibilities.  I immediately took my seventeen month old daughter for a walk just to clear my head, and relax. 


Reflection:  I am not sure why I felt used.  The class was like any other class I have been in.  Learning is learning no matter how big or small it may be. 





There is hope!

October 23, 2007

Today I received a call to observe computer classes at a senior community starting next week.  I was about to give up, but this is hopeful.  I will still go to Vintage when the program starts in November. The place I am going to next week is Lutheran Service Society in Bellevue.

Ongoing Service Learning Project

October 13, 2007

After contacting Vintage, the project will definitely start in November. Therefore, I have decided that I must start back to looking for a project.  I also need to broaden my focus group not just to senior citizens, but to other disadvantage people in the community who would like to have help in the area of computer technology.