How Indonesians Are Protecting Voting Rights with Crowdsourcing

elections

Indonesia has around 187 million registered voters scattered across 13,500 islands, 3,200 miles of sea and land, and three time zones. On July 9th, for just the third time in the country’s history, those widely dispersed voters directly chose their president.

As you might imagine, voter fraud is a major concern in the world’s largest single-day election, in a country where the average annual income is less than $1,500. So how to keep an eye on the 480,000+ polling stations? Use the wisdom of the crowd!

Here are three examples of how Indonesians are participating in the election long after they cast their votes by crowdsourcing vote fraud prevention:

  • C1 Yanganeh is a Tumblr to track suspect official Election Commission C1 documents from each polling station. Election offices at polling stations use the C1 form to record results, which are then sent to election officials at the village level, where they are totted up and written on another form.
  • Kawal Suara takes C1 review the next step by letting Indonesian users manually input counting results by reading random C1 documents one by one, and limits each IP address to only inputing one document from each voting booth. Kawal Suara was developed entirely by Reza Lesmana, who already has 1,200 users who “crowdcounted” over 31,000 documents.
  • MataMassa is a Ushahidi-based website that allows the public to submit allegations of electoral fraud via SMS, web, or mobile device. It doesn’t focus on C1 documents, but the overall voting process and has found over 300 instances of verified vote fraud. MataMassa was developed by iLab and the Jakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists.

These three applications are no substitute for clean and fair elections, but they are 3 great first steps towards electronic transparency and digital accountability in Indonesian democracy.

Apply Now for the Digital Youth Fellowship Programme

def-fellow

The Digital Youth Fellowship Programme (DYFP) of the Digital Empowerment Foundation seeks to engage willing youths in India and South Asia, who are keen to have development and grassroots experience in working with communities in any parts in India. The fellowship period is for minimum 90 days duration, and fellows get travel, accommodation, and living expenses during their fellowship.

Over 100 selected fellows will be guided to work with communities under various Digital Empowerment Foundation programmes that have Information Communication Technology (ICT) applications, usage and utility. Fellows will be expected to engage in:

  • Community mobilization and engagement
  • Skill development & capacity building
  • Reporting and documentation
  • Information and content aggregation
  • Research inputs including data capturing and mining

Willing applicants can write to Ms. Ritu Srivastava, Programme Manager at [email protected] with a formal communication along with updated curriculum vitae. Application shall accompany with a 500 words note on why the applicant is interested in one of the various flagship programmes of Digital Empowerment Foundation as briefly outlined below:

Digital Panchayat
Under this initiative, fellows are ought to travel and work with a cluster of Panchayats at a district level. The tasks of the fellows are cut out to make elected members digitally literate and collect content of the Panchayats and put them online through dedicated Digital Panchayat website. Check out online Panchayats at http://epanchayat.in.

Wireless for Communities (W4C)
The Wireless for Communities (W4C) initiative establishes wireless based broadband internet cluster and provides connectivity in remote areas denied of connectivity and access. Using the free spectrum for wireless connectivity, W4C program has so far established 8 community networks in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand. If you are keen to experience the W4C journey, as a Digital Wireless Fellow, you can join the program for a minimum 3 months period and explore on the ground how to connect rural and remote locations and feel empowered. More details at http://wforc.in

Chanderiyaan
The Chanderiyaan project was initiated by DEF as a part of digital cluster development flagship programme. As a fellow you can join the Digital Fellowship of the Loom programme and contribute in textile and apparel designing and making entrepreneurs out of the weavers and contribute in overall cluster development.  Check out the Chanderiyaan project at http://chanderiyaan.chanderi.org/, the Chanderiyaan e-commerce platform at http://chanderiyaan.net  and the Chanderi heritage town at http://chanderiheritage.in

Community Information Resource Centres (CIRC)
Digital Empowerment Foundation has established more than 30 CIRCs across India, which are digitally enabled and Internet connected for information services delivery and access, digital literacy, ICT Skills, citizen services and livelihood opportunities. The mission at DEF continues to establish one CIRC in each district of India. As CIRC resource persons, selected fellows are supposed to work with a particular CIRC, can join a 3-6 months stationed programme and contribute in making one person per household digitally literate and information empowered. Check out for more details at http://defindia.org.

Digital Library Programme (DLP)
As a fellow of the DLP programme, selected fellows are invited to work with district public libraries in Kanpur Rural District (Uttar Pradesh) and Betiah in West Champaran District of Bihar. Selected fellows shall contribute in implementing and running various programme activities in the libraries with the support of ICTs.

eNGO
Fellows are invited to join the eNGO programme to empower grassroots NGOs and development agencies with ICT support. Fellows shall provide support in having NGOs their own web platforms; provide content, training and capacity building support of NGOs and their functionaries to make them ICT enabled. Details at http://pirengo.org

How Mobile Reporting is Reducing Maternal Mortality in India

maternamortality

Women in the Indian state of Assam are routinely denied access to adequate health services and Assam’s health facilities often lack the resources necessary to ensure safe motherhood. As a result, Assam has the highest maternal mortality rate in India, with most of the deaths occurring among Adivasi (tribal) communities who live and work in the tea gardens.

These violations of the rights to health, life and equality are neither reported nor addressed. Basic tools to communicate, inform, and document violations are virtually non-existent, and women lack access to mechanisms to hold public and private entities accountable for the failure to provide life-saving treatment as required by law.

The End Maternal Mortality Now project launched an interactive website built on Ushahidi, to map failures in the health system in the State of Assam. Over 40 women in the District of Sonitpur have been trained to report violations of health and food benefits provided under the Government welfare schemes through codified SMS texts, which are then mapped to detect patterns of violations. The project is supported in its pilot phase by the Information Society Innovation Fund.

Jaspreet Singh from the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination (ICAAD), an organization that combats structural discrimination, says:

“The SMS system allows for the tracking of multiple health rights violations, including the lack of resources at health centers. It is also acting as a community empowerment tool by engaging local women to collect data that will be used to hold the government accountable.”

The data received is gathered on endmmnow.org, which maps patterns of violations as well as individual cases across the District. The nine-month pilot project will be used to demand better health infrastructure by local activists and lawyers through administrative complaints and court litigation so that tea garden women workers be treated with dignity and have guaranteed access to lifesaving healthcare.

Vote Now for 2014 ISIF Asia Community Choice Award

vote-now

We are very pleased to announce that ISIF Asia received 93 applications for the 2014 ISIF Asia Awards. 34 applications from 12 different economies have been selected to take part in the awards process. The ISIF Asia selection committee has officially started the assessments of the applications to select 4 award winners, one for each one of the award categories to be announced during the first week of July.

Each award package comprises of 3,000 AUD cash prize plus a travel grant to attend the Internet Governance Forum in Istambul later this year, to participate in the discussions about the future of the Internet.

Community Choice Award

In addition to the 4 awards selected by the Selection Committee, the Community Choice Award is given to the application with the highest number of online votes. The online voting is open until midnight on 26 June.

Please vote for your favorite project:

  1. Login to be able to cast your vote.
  2. Review the Award Nominees and choose your favorite applicant.
  3. Click on the red square with the word “Vote” to cast your vote.
  4. Verify the information on the pop-up window to make sure the vote is valid.
  5. Another pop up window will appear indicating that your vote was successfully submitted and inviting you to promote your vote on social media. Please share widely, to increase your favorite project’s chances to win.
  6. Logout from the system so that others sharing your computer will be able to vote from another account.

Please note that Facebook likes are NOT counted as votes.

The Evolution of Telecentres and Libraries in Indonesia

cybercafe

Telecentres, a public place to access computers and the Internet, and libraries aim to serve isolated community to facilitate better access to information and knowledge. Especially in developing countries, telecentres and libraries help in reducing digital divides.

In the development of this concept, telecentres also favour for profit entities as cybercafés, which have similar goals as telecentres. Gomez et al. (2009) includes cybercafé as a telecenter by recognizing the importance of cybercafé in providing access to ICT, although an institution or network doesn’t support it. Cybercafes are located in areas with high income and tourists, yet do offer an important source of public access to ICT.

Looking to the potential of Indonesia, it has 14,516 libraries, 400 telecenters, and 7,000 cybercafés (Gomez et al., 1999). From this statistic, it is interesting to see the potential for growing telecentres in Indonesia. Here are two case studies of the use of libraries as telecentres in Indonesia.

Online Content Library

Public libraries, as the new telecentres, provide public access to ICT in Indonesia. In West Kalimantan, the use of ICT in public libraries is driven by [email protected], an international multilateral relationship between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam in Borneo, a strategic island in the middle of Southeast Asia. The countries have authorities to protect sustainable forest within Borneo.

Supported by more than 16 institutions from 2 states and 3 provinces, [email protected] has important roles to ensure accessibility of information resources about Borneo and was initially founded to use online access to provide key knowledge to citizens on Borneo.

Focusing on forest at the beginning, [email protected] nowadays expands its digital collections to other topics. The good news for local libraries is that the more digital contents, the higher demands to provide computers and Internet access for citizens. Therefore, the need of telecentre equipment in public libraries is high and seen as necessary.

For example, a public library managed by West Kalimantan Provincial Government provides 24 PCs and equips Internet access points for public who need the Internet for both accessing content and seeking books in an online catalogue managed by the library administrators.

Because of the ICs, the library now has increased visitors. Over 340 visitors come to the library every day, including holidays, 7 days a week, and 47,860 visitors came in the last year. Nining, a computer administrator of the library says,

“There is significant increase since the library provide Internet access and open every day, Monday – Saturday from 08.00am to 10.00pm and Sunday from 08.30am to 05.00pm. In addition, 200GB bandwidth quota allocated for this month already run out a week before the end of the month”

Modern Library Concept

atamerica2

Jakarta’s @america, is an interesting example of how the concepts of telecentres and libraries have evolved to the present day. Unlike telecentre that focuses on providing access to computers, the US Embassy’s funded @america offers its visitors access to resources, learning space, as well as educational advice and guidance. @america interactively engages audience with varied and edgy content-rich activities such as discussions, web chats, competitions, cultural performances and exhibitions.

Moreover, @america equips audiences with the latest mobile devices and Internet connection – all free of charge. @america takes benefits from its location in a popular upmarket shopping mall with its large crowds of regular shoppers. Accordingly, @america is open for public 10am to 9pm daily. To further its impact, @america builds partnership with non-profit organizations, educational institutions and private companies to expand its message.

The idea of @america as a contemporary technology-rich library has superseded the one of a telecentre. As various studies have proven, a telecentre, with its simplistic approach, is unable to either promote social inclusion effectively or bridge the digital divide in underserved communities. With its strong online and offline presence, @america has emerged as an attractive public access venue for multi-facet communication, interaction and learning. People are hungry for knowledge and opportunities; @america delivers exactly that.


Contributors

Eko Prasetyo leads the implementation of Jhpieho’s mHealth initiative in Indonesia. He graduated from MSc. Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) programme at The University of Manchester.

Sofiarti Dyah Anggunia works as Database Analyst at West Kalimantan Provincial Government, Indonesia. She holds an M.Sc in Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) from The University of Manchester.

Larastri Kumaralalita is currently member of e-government laboratory in University of Indonesia. She gained MSc. of Management and Information Systems at Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM), University of Manchester, and Bachelor in Computer Science, majoring in Information Systems, at Computer Science Faculty, University of Indonesia.

Scaling Operation ASHA to Fight Tuberculosis in Cambodia

ecompliance

According to the WHO, tuberculosis is the biggest infectious-disease killer, taking more lives than AIDS, cholera and other pandemics combined. There are 8 million new cases in the world each year and 1.8 million deaths, even though it is a fully curable disease with the right treatment.

In response, Dr. Shelly Batra and Sandeep Ahuja founded Operation ASHA in 2005 with a compelling vision: a tuberculosis-free India. Operation ASHA has grown to become the exclusive provider of tuberculosis (TB) treatment to nearly five million Indian citizens.

Operation ASHA uses eCompliance, a comprehensive low-cost technology solution for tracking and monitoring TB patients that is constantly being upgraded to suit the needs of the people.

Recently, their technology team launched a text free version of eCompliance to be used in zero literacy areas such as the tribal areas of Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand in India, and transitioned eCompliance from netbooks to tablets for improved efficacy and cost-efficiency.

Cambodia Expansion

Thanks to a grant from Information Society Innovation Fund Asia (ISIF), Operation ASHA is replicating eCompliance in two provinces in Cambodia. The pilot has begun, and more than 140 patients are registered. But numbers do not tell the whole story. Watch this video to see the impact of technology on TB as told by a Operation ASHA patient in Cambodia:

In recognition of her success in scaling treatment of TB in India and Cambodia, Dr. Shelly Batra, President & Co-Founder of Operation ASHA, was selected by Schwab Foundation as Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2014.

Congratulations Dr. Batra, and keep up the good work!

Apply Now: ISIF Asia Awards

isif_grants_photo

The ISIF Asia Awards seek to acknowledge the important contributions ICT innovators have made with creative solutions to the social and economic development of the Asia Pacific region. The ISIF Asia Awards are granted to initiatives on the last stages of implementation or that have finalized activities already that are aligned with the funding categories and eligibility criteria.

Financial support for up to AUD 3,000 is allocated via a competitive process, plus a travel grant to attend the awards ceremony at a regional or global event chosen by the ISIF Asia secretariat. Innovation and a development focus should be an integral part of all award nominations.

Nominations for the 2014 ISIF Asia awards close 26 May 2014
Nominate your project now!
The funding categories are:

  • Innovation on access provision: Access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) is a prevalent issue in the Asia Pacific region, especially for services that require broadband connectivity. Innovative solutions offering low cost deployment, low power consumption and low maintenance that expanded fixed and mobile access to the internet through new forms of technical and organizational arrangements as well as improved the quality of access based on issues of accessibility, disability and linguistic diversity.
  • Innovation on learning and localization: Capacity building and localization efforts have been key to develop the skills needed to design, maintain, and manage ICT infrastructure and services in local languages, supporting local talent and creating job opportunities in rural or urban marginalized areas. Innovative, open, inclusive and sustainable approaches to learning and localization are key elements to guarantee the quality of access to knowledge needed to offer reliable services and applications.
  • Code for the common good: High mobile penetration in the AP region has been a catalyst in the development of mobile-based services, applications and software solutions. These solutions have been used to support timely and relevant information dissemination on a large scale using a range of network infrastructures through a variety of devices, even where literacy rates are lower. Mobile technologies have enabled communities to increase participation in political processes, coordinate efforts during emergency situations, receive extreme weather alerts, communicate with remote health services, and receive specialized patient referrals, among many other applications.
  • Rights: Strategic use of Internet tools and services to promote freedom of expression, freedom of association, privacy, security, consumers’ rights, gender equality, new forms of intellectual property in the digital environment, and a wider range of issues related to the Internet and human rights.

In addition to selecting a winner per category, a Community Choice Award will be granted to the best social media campaign (the project with the highest number of votes from the community).

What are you waiting for? Apply today!

How SMS Text Messages Improve the Reading Outcomes in Papua New Guinea

sms-story-vso

The aim of the SMS Story research project was to determine if daily mobile phone text message stories and lesson plans would improve children’s reading in Papua New Guinea (PNG) elementary schools. The research was a controlled trial in which half of the teachers received text messages for twenty weeks and half did not.

The stories and lesson plans were designed to introduce children to reading English and followed an underlying phonics and key word based methodology. Teachers in the trial received a cartoon poster explaining how to use the daily text messages and received a total of 100 text message stories and 100 related text message lessons for two academic terms. They did not receive any in-service training.

sms-story

Baseline Start Point

Research was conducted in rural elementary schools in two provinces, Madang and Simbu, and has involved a baseline reading assessment, mid-point lesson and classroom observations and an end-point reading assessment. At baseline, there was no statistically significant difference between the active and control groups, with respect to school characteristics and children’s reading assessment results.

The baseline results showed that many children had limited or no reading (for example, half of the children could not read any high frequency English words). At the time of enrollment, all participating schools had very few reading books, if any, available in the classroom.

Experiment Results

On average, across both sets of schools, children’s reading did improve over the two terms with children at SMS Story schools improving significantly more. Random visits to active schools during the intervention period showed that most teachers were actively engaging with the content sent to them as text messages. This demonstrated that the SMS technology (using FrontlineSMS delivered over the Digicel mobile network) was effective in reaching teachers.

There was a large change in the reported use of teaching strategies promoted by SMS Story lesson plans and poster (for example, 42 teachers in active schools (n=51) against 12 teachers in control schools (n=51) reported “reading stories to the children every day”).

At the end-point reading assessment, there was a statistically significant difference between the results of the control and active groups, with the active group performing better than the control group across four of the five reading skills tested. This improvement is seen in both grade 1 and grade 2 and with girls and boys.

Children who did not receive the SMS Story were approximately twice as likely to be unable to read a single word of three sub – tests (decodable words, sight words and oral reading). In other words the intervention almost halved the number of children who could not read anything compared with the control schools.

Therefore, the text messages to teachers improved students’ reading ability in decoding, fluency, reading familiar high frequency words and reading phonetically correct nonsense words. The research did not find a statistically significant improvement in reading comprehension and generally children showed low reading comprehension skills in both grades and little progression between grade 1 and 2.

Other Results

The trial also found a strong negative impact on students’ reading caused by the absence of the classroom teacher to attend provincial trainer-directed training. Unsurprisingly the students of these teachers performed poorly on the final reading assessment. Importantly SMS Story does not require a teacher to be absent from a class for training.

Recommendations

As a control led trial, this intervention has a rigorous research base. The results demonstrate that appropriate use of mobile phone technology can have a positive impact upon educational outcomes in resource-constrained settings.

In PNG, it is recommended that the methodology of sending daily text messages to teachers be pursued further. In other countries, it is recommended that trials be undertaken as controlled trials so that statistically significant data can be generated.

SMS Story was funded by the Australian Government, through a research grant from the Economic and Public Sector Program. The project was designed and managed by Voluntary Services Overseas, in partnership with the Department of Education.

Is TV White Space the Ideal Wireless Data Delivery Medium for the Philippines?

tvws

You know all those fuzzy TV channels that don’t seem to be used? Well, in between each channel is even more unused space. Called “TV white space” or TVWS, this unused radio frequency between broadcast TV channels in the very high frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) range between 54 MHz and 806 MHz represents an amazing untapped wireless spectrum resource for developing countries.

Marco Zennaro and Ermanno Pietrosemoli of the Abdus Salaam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) have put together a great collection of essays on TV White Spaces with an emphasis on their application in emerging markets. “TV White Spaces — A Pragmatic Approach“, covers both technical and policy issues as well as providing information on real world pilots.

In the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) estimates that there are about 24-31 channels (46 percent white space) available in rural areas. The national capital region and Cebu has 24 unused channels (63 percent) and the Mindanao area (Davao) has about 18 (62-80 percent).

In fact, Louis Casambre, Executive Director of DOST-ICTO says that:

“TVWS is an ideal wireless data delivery medium for the Philippines, with its long distance propagation characteristics and the ability of its signals to travel over water and through thick foliage, we are hopeful that this will be the technology to bring connectivity to rural areas and bridge the digital divide”

Philippines leading Asia in TVWS experimentation

Undersecretary Casambre is putting his agency at the forefront of TVWS experimentation. DOST-ICTO and the private company Nityo Infotech are currently testing the technology in the largest pilot deployment in Asia.

100 sites in the province of Bohol will use TVWS technology as a public service to connect people and organizations to education, eHealth, and eGovernment services, and provide the backbone for environmental sensor networks and for Internet access in public places. The $5 million technology investment will deliver up to 6 mbps of data throughput at a maximum range of 10 km.

rxbox

TVWS for Health

One of TVWS projects that will be connected is the deployment of RxBox units. RxBox is a DOST-developed telehealth device that enable remote consultations between patients, community health workers, and experts in urban areas.

The device can take a patient’s electrocardiogram or ECG, heart rate, blood, pulse rate and blood oxygenation and supports “teleconsultation” between patients and remote clinical experts. While the RxBox usually works just over SMS in remote areas, in the TVWS pilot, it will be connected via broadband Internet for true real-time telemedicine activities. That’s a broadband innovation we can all be proud of.

How to Ensure Long-Term Sustainability for a Chuuk Computer Lab

Thanks to funding from the Internet Society Community Grant Program as well as from the Information Society Innovation Fund (isif.asia) a computer learning lab has been established at the Chuuk Women’s Council!

Our goal in establishing a computer lab in the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) is with the aim of empowering and connecting, with ICT, the women of Chuuk State, in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM).

The Chuuk Women’s Council is an established umbrella organization for the different women’s organizations across Chuuk State, which promotes women’s leadership, education on health and gender issues, environmental conservation, practical skills-building for employment opportunities, and the preservation of traditional and cultural crafts.

Given the existing strengths of the center and the breadth of the programs already on offer, we believe that the technology of this computer lab will serve to complement and enable this organization that is already extremely successful in its non-technical endeavors.

In planning the computer lab, we looked at five key ways to assure long-term sustainability:

  1. Computer Hardware (Rugged, Portable, Low Energy Usage, Good Performance & a Webcam)
  2. Software (Office Software, Typing Aid, Basic ICT Skill Modules, & Virus Protection)
  3. Internet Access (WiFi, Bandwidth)
  4. Training (Basic ICT, Email, Web Searching, Office Software)
  5. Support and Maintenance (Shares, Onsite, Software/Hardware Repair & Remote Troubleshooting)

With our solution requirements and guidelines, a plan was developed and agreed upon with project partners. The support for this computer lab was linked to the PISCES project that during 2012 deployed solar powered wireless connectivity to Chuuk. Building on the connectivity and the capacity built during the PISCES project, the ISIF Asia program has supported 2 consecutive grants to iSolutions to connect schools and improve the solar powered infrastructure available.

It is our hope and intent that this computer lab at the Council’s facility, accompanied by trainings in how to make use of the technology and the Internet, will greatly enhance the existing CWC offerings and will empower Chuuk’s women to use ICT’s communications and information capabilities to enhance their own quality of life and improve their own communities.

P1120647

The CWC has an existing room within their facilities designated to serve as the computer lab: where the sewing classes currently take place!

Thanks to the mobility of the laptops comprising the lab, they will be able to utilize the room as a sewing room in the mornings, and as a computer lab in the afternoons, with the added bonus that the sewing machine bases can very conveniently serve as “desks” for the laptops.

Alternatively, the laptops can easily be brought to any room within the CWC to be used for training, education, or any ICT skill based needs that will help the staff accomplish their tasks.

P1130436

We started on-the-ground in Chuuk by preparing the laptops at iSolutions, a small company co-founded and directed by project partner TR Mori, pioneering community Internet access through the only cyber-café and computer repair center in Chuuk.

Many of the iSolutions staff helped out with standardizing the programs (listed below) loaded on the laptops, password-protecting them, and installing Reboot Restore RX on each of them for virus protection/removal upon reboot.

We selected Intel Classmate Laptops for the lab, because they are quite energy efficient (important on any small island!), have a speedy processor and long battery life, and are wrapped in a ruggedized and durable housing—not an insignificant point, given that they will be moved each day to create the computer lab/return to a sewing room.

P1130438

The programs/features installed included:

  • Windows 7 OS
  • Web Browsers (Chrome and Internet Explorer)
  • Office Suite Software (Open Office)
  • Communications Software (Skype)
  • Rapid Typing
  • Multi Media (webcam software and a multimedia video player)
  • PDF viewer
  • GCF Learn Free
  • MicSem Videos

Once the laptops were ready, we headed over to the CWC for a meeting with the staff, to talk with them and inquire what they had in mind for the computer lab. They were all quite interested in the technology, and were eager to improve their own computer skills.

We asked them what they hoped to be able to do with the computers, as well as spoke about the possibilities for the women who live in more remote locations to be able to use the technology. They expressed that because of the strong person-to-person networks they already have in place, any local chapter of the CWC, from one of the Lagoon Islands for example, could request a training session to take place. They believed this would prove very popular.

P1130475

In the meantime, we got started on helping them develop their own computer skills that afternoon. They eagerly jumped in, using the Rapid Typing program, listening to music, using the video camera, and trying out Open Office.

We returned the next day, set up the lab, connected the laptops to the Internet, and held our first training session in the brand new CWC computer lab. Since our “students” had already used the laptops the day before, they were not timid to try anything.

Since we had Internet connectivity today, we surfed to the web, and the two women who didn’t yet have email addresses were already attempting to use Facebook (where they soon discovered they’d need to obtain email addresses in short order)! We tried out the Rapid Typing program again, and then it was time for some multi-media: We watched some videos from MicSem and GCF Free Learn—which proved to be very popular and entertaining.

When I said goodbye to them, they all called out goodbye back, but they hardly even looked up as our team left, they were so engrossed in using the laptops, and certainly not ready to stop after a few hours! That was fantastic.

We are working on editing a video that we made about this experience, so watch for the video to be posted. We also anticipate a return visit in November of this year and to reporting back on how and for what the learning lab is being used.

In the meantime, we also looking forward to hearing more about developments at the CWC’s computer lab in real time; how the staff are using the laptops/lab, when the training sessions for community members will start, and even more exciting developments I couldn’t possibly predict!

Written by Dr. Laura Hosman, assistant professor at Illinois Institute of Technology. Read her blog here.