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Project Plan: Priorities

April 15, 2011

Our April 9th trip to the East St. Louis Jones Park Community Center was very productive: we completed construction of all 12 desks, tested for WiFi signals across the park, and demoed a Linux Edubuntu and a Windows XP computer for the Director, Irma Golliday. Irma chose Linux Edubuntu as the OS she wants on all 10 computers we will be setting up because (a) many free educational programs are available for Linux, (b) the OS itself is free, and (c) it is unlikely to get viruses. This is the part of the technology plan that must be successful; even if internet is not set up, children in the community will still have access and exposure to technology with the computers. The choice of Linux is where the Park District is able to experiment and absorb risk, since it is a new OS for everyone there.

We found that the surrounding school districts use the educational software Study Island. Once internet is set up in the Community Center, children could access Study Island at no cost to the Community Center. The schools also use Accelerated Math and Accelerated Reader, which are too expensive ($7,000-$12,000 minimum) and not adaptable for a park environment.

On April 11th Charter Communications said they could install physical plant to the Community Center for internet access and it would cost $10,000. They also said could cover most if not all of that cost, provided the Park District signs a 3-5-year contract instead of the usual 1-year contract. Due to the size of the contract, the Jones Park account is being handed to a new Charter sales representative. We are waiting for this person to be assigned and negotiate terms with Irma. The location of the computer lab in the Community Center cannot change at present, which is why these negotiations are important. We tested to see if the Community Center could connect wirelessly to the internet via the Administrative Building’s signal, but it is unlikely that the Community Center would have stable (if any) internet connection this way.

Our remaining semester priorities are: (1) set up 10 Linux Edubuntu OS computers with educational software, (2) set up a projector in the Community Center computer lab, (3) follow negations between Charter and the Park District to set up internet in the Community Center, (4) set up 4 outdoor routers and 4 outdoor antennae for WiFi access across the Jones Park District, (5) create easy to follow instructions for all aspects of the technology we are installing.

Our plans to accomplish each priority are:

(1)   set up 10 computers with educational software

  1. Install Linux Edubuntu and free educational software on 10 computers.
  2. Suggest the Community Center buy something such as tarps or grill covers to cover the computers (the Center has a leaky roof).

(2)   set up a projector and screen in the Community Center computer lab, possibly with the capabilities of being moved outdoors.

1.     Continue researching indoor/outdoor projector and screen options, and have these items purchased.

(3)   follow negations between Charter and the Park District to set up internet in the Community Center

  1. Continue contacting Charter for the new sales rep and have him contact Irma.

(4)   set up WiFi across the entire Jones Park District

  1. We will set up 4 outdoor routers and 4 outdoor antennas to broadcast an internet signal to the public.

(5)   create easy to follow instructions for all aspects of the technology we are installing

  1. We plan to schedule at least a 1 hour meeting with Irma Golliday and all others that will oversee the computer lab to explain how everything works on April 30th.
  2. We will create backup CDs. These CDs should be clearly labeled and with their own instructions so that the staff can use them if needed.

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April 5, 2011

At the beginning of the semester, the Project Plan Priorities for the East St. Louis Jones Park Community Center were: (1) set up 10 computers with educational software, (2) connect the 10 computers to the internet, (3) set up WiFi across the entire Jones Park District, (4) set up a projector in the Community Center computer lab, (5) build and paint 10 computer desks, (6) paint the room that would serve as the computer lab, (7) create easy to follow instructions for all aspects of the technology we are installing.

After the April 1st & 2nd trip to the Community Center in which we made great headway on Priority 5 (building and painting 10 computer desks), we realized that in order to achieve the technological needs of the site, we had to eliminate Priority 6: painting the room itself. To offset this, we chose vibrant and interactive paint (purple, green, and dry erase) for the computer desks to liven the room. We also replaced the trim around the front entrance for an updated, clean feel.

Information about Internet options (through Charter Communications) from the Park District has been slow coming, with the result that setting up Internet has dropped in priority level.

The computers themselves are our top priority. Even without Internet, full software installations and flexible, useful desks, will make the computers useful to the community.

Our current semester priorities are: (1) set up 10 computers with educational software, (2) build and paint 10 computer desks, (3) set up a projector in the Community Center computer lab, (4) connect the 10 computers to the internet, (5) set up WiFi across the entire Jones Park District, (6) create easy to follow instructions for all aspects of the technology we are installing.

 

Our plans to accomplish each priority are:

(1)   set up 10 computers with educational software

  1. Research Open Source educational software, especially math software.
  2. Contact schools surrounding the Park District to find out what educational software they are already using.
  3. Bring 1 or 2 test computers on the April 9th trip to test the computers themselves and the software.
  4. Present both Windows and Linux as OS options on the April 9th trip (budgeting set aside by the Park District for licensing costs will make a big difference in whether Windows is even an option).
  5. We will suggest the Community Center buy something such as tarps or grill covers to cover the computers (the Center has a leaky roof).

(2)   build and paint 10 computer desks

  1. This is nearly complete. On April 9th we will do touchup painting and possibly attach wheels to complete the desks.

(3)   set up a projector in the Community Center computer lab

  1. On April 9th we plan to install and test the projector.

(4)   connect the 10 computers to the internet

  1. We will ask the Park District for their Charter Communication account number so we can contact Charter directly about options and costs.
  2. We will ask the Park District which router they have in the Administrative Building. If possible, we want to get the same router so that the Park District has something they are already familiar with.
  3. We will test the Internet connection with the 1 or 2 test computers on April 9th.

(5)   set up WiFi across the entire Jones Park District

  1. We will find out about power options at covered picnic area with the blue roof near the baseball field in Jones Park. This location could be a power source for WiFi.
  2. On April 9th we will test the WiFi antennae and routers for bridging. We will also test mesh network options.
  3. We will also test the WiFi using our own technology

(6)   create easy to follow instructions for all aspects of the technology we are installing

  1. We plan to schedule at least a 1 hour meeting with Irma Golliday while we are at the Park District on April 9th.
  2. We plan to schedule at least a 1 hour meeting with Irma Golliday and all others that will oversee the computer lab to explain how everything works.
  3. We will create backup CDs. These CDs should be clearly labeled and with their own instructions so that the staff can use them if needed.

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