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Project Plan: Use Scenarios

Scenario 1Sprout Program

Petunia Jones, an eleven-year old girl, is one of the participants in the Sprout program, in which local teachers, artists, historians, and even master gardeners engage children in many after school activities such as art, crafts, photography, and gardening.  Petunia is particularly interested in gardening, as she has been introduced into it by her grandmother, who lives in the countryside.  Since Petunia is very busy with her school, she rarely visits her grandmother and her garden, where she enjoys working.  This is why she is so happy to participate in the Sprout program, which has given her a chance to develop her gardening skills in her hometown, specifically in the greenhouse and the garden in Jones Park in East St Louis.  Petunia has been given a small plot in the garden, where she has planted cucumbers, tomatoes, and bell peppers.  However, the plants are not growing well and she she asks the Sprout councilor for help and advice.

The Community Center computer lab doesn’t have Internet yet, but the Sprout instructor enables internet sharing on her cell phone, allowing Petunia to connect via the computer’s Wi-Fi card.  The councilor shows Petunia the new software programs and the links to a few gardening websites on the Internet, which have been installed recently in the new computer lab in Jones Park. Thus Petunia found new resources, which proved to be extremely useful.  She is very happy with the resources on the website of the Illinois Vegetable Garden Guide, part of the University of Illinois Extension.  Petunia finds particularly helpful the “Tips on Growing Specific Vegetables,” which features detailed information on over 20 garden vegetables.  The councilor shows Petunia another resource – Open Office Drawing.  From there, Petunia takes some layout ideas for her garden, which she eagerly  jots down on the dry erase surface of the new computer desk.  Petunia also enjoys tremendously two of the software programs, hosted on the internet by the University of Illinois, “My First Garden” and “The Great Plant Escape.”  The councilor informs her that some software resources like Open Office are always there regardless of the Internet connection, which sometimes can be problematic.


Scenario 2:  After-School Activities, Supporting the School Curriculum

Paul Erödish, age 9, is in third grade, and of all the subjects he learns in school, math is the most abstract. For this reason, Paul finds it to be the hardest subject for him to comprehend. Currently he is struggling with long division, multiplication, fractions, decimals, graphs, and concepts in Geometry.  He always needs help with his homework, and this is one of the reasons why he goes regularly at Jones Park community center, where, in summer, a volunteer teacher helps kids with school homework.  Today, Paul had a particularly difficult morning at school, so right after class, he dashed off to the water park at Jones Park to cool down, chat with friends, and to relax. This is the other reason why he likes going to Jones Park.

After about an hour of playing in the park, Paul runs inside to use the bathroom and sees one of his friends standing at a computer, watching a YouTube video on water pressure. He is curious to see what his friend is watching and also asks him if he could help him with his math homework, particularly with fractions, which Paul is having trouble understanding how ⅓ is smaller than ½ because 3 is larger than 2.  His friend thinks that Paul could really benefit from visual representations and tells him to sit down at a computer so that he can show him a math program that helps with fractions. Paul doesn’t need to worry that his arms and face are still dripping wet since the keyboards are waterproof.  Paul starts playing a great fractions game about cutting up a pizza and another that makes him use division to stop an alien invasion.  Unfortunately, Paul’s friend has to leave, but just at this moment the volunteer teacher, Mrs. Wilson, enters the computer lab  and continues to work with Paul.

Mrs.Wilson is in fact happy to show Paul the new math programs and games that have recently been installed in the computer lab as she believes that this new software will help significantly break down the stereotype that math is an intimidating subject, which is so difficult to understand.  She explains to Paul that he can always find these games on the desktop of the computer, even if for various reasons there is no Internet connection in the computer lab.  In addition, the teacher points to a few math and science designated websites linked on the desktop, which she believes will be of great benefit to Paul as they are also grade level tailored and include a lot of revision and remediation activities and tests, which allow progress monitoring.  Paul starts exploring the games. Pretty soon he gets engulfed in them and forgets about the world around him.  One of the games he enjoys most is the TuxMathScrabble, which is his favorite words play game.  For now, he gets familiar with the number version of this game, and he finds that the program even allows him to construct a number scrabble by himself.  He is so glued to the screen, that in the end,  Mrs. Wilson has to tap him on the shoulder pointing that it is time to close the center and go home.  Paul leaves reluctantly, and says that he cannot wait to come again tomorrow to continue playing with numbers!  This is exactly what every teacher wants to hear, so Mrs. Wilson is very happy that Paul is starting to develop a penchant for math.


Scenario 3:  Wireless Internet for the Community Around Jones Park

Andrew Johnson, age 28, lives a block-and-a-half away from the park, and needs to access the Internet to investigate opportunities for starting a small business.  He used to rely on his, best friend and neighbor, Hellen, for an internet connection. Hellen’s router used WPA2 security, and she gave the password to Andrew whenever she changed it. The arrangement all worked out very well for both of them, as they were able to share the cost and they trusted each other, not being afraid that the other person may abuse his or her rights and encroach “foreign territory.”

Unfortunately, Hellen, moved out of town with a very short notice when she found a job in another state.  As much as Andrew is happy for his friend’s success, he is very upset and even worried because he no longer has a convenient access to the Internet since Hellen was the holder of the account, and Andrew cannot afford an independent account at this moment of financial crisis.  In the meantime, Andrew has been “borrowing” Internet from an unknown source. Compounding Andrew’s problems, Hellen was much more technologically savvy and was helping Andrew a lot with computer use.  Andrew knows that there is a public library in the town with a few computers and an Internet connection, but the library is quite far from his home, and the computer access is limited to only one hour per day.  Just the thought of going there throws him in despair.  He relies on the Internet for getting his business off the ground, so the public library is hardly an option for him.  With these heavy thoughts on his mind Andrew enters the nearby park, strolling aimlessly.

Suddenly, something makes him dig out and boot up his laptop when he discovers  an open wireless signal in the park!  He cannot believe his eyes!  This park has never offered Internet connection before, and he know’s the signal is coming from the park since it’s called “Community Center – Guest.” Andrew is hardly a regular visitor to the park, but this time he was just drawn there, almost by fate.  And it turned out – for good reason!  Furthermore, he notices that next to the sign there is a sheet of instructions on connecting and using securely the secured wireless network, so he can manage his bank account online without worrying about his identity being stolen.  Without wasting any more time in disbelief, Andrew sits down on the steps of the Community Center and enjoys the chirrup of the birds and the wind’s breeze.  Andrew’s spirits are lifted even further when he learns that the park intends to offer even broader access, managed by Charter Communications, throughout the park. This goes beyond all his dreams.  He is happy that he has found an easy, nearby, free and secure access to the Internet again, at least for the summer.


Scenario 4:  A Family Using the Computer Lab and the Wireless Internet Connection at Jones Park

Patricia Smith, age 34, is a management quality consultant for the Cricket company.  She enjoys her work and would like to make a career as a manager in the telecommunication industry.  In order to accomplish this goal she has enrolled in a MBA on-line program offered by the University of Illinois, Springfield.  Given her busy working schedule she uses every spare minute she has to work on her assignments, which means that she needs to have a constant access to the Internet, wherever she is.  The first step she made in this direction was to buy a laptop years ago; the second necessary step is to locate herself in a place with wireless Internet connection, which she found was more difficult than she thought it would be.  She has established that very few public places in East St Louis offer wireless connection.

Patricia also has a six-year daughter, Tiffany, who is in her first year at school.  Tiffany is very excited about going to school, and she is doing very well in general, but she finds the writing class particularly challenging.  Her teacher told her that she needs to practice writing a lot and recommended her some computer typing programs, which she could do on her own.  However, this turned out to be extremely difficult to do as unfortunately none of the school’s computers, designated for students’ assignments are operational.

Patricia heard from a friend that the Community Center at the nearby Jones Park has a computer lab equipped with wonderful software programs for children.  In addition, a Wi-Fi connection for the public will soon be accessible in the Park just outside the Community Center.  Patricia was delighted with the news!  This also explained to her why she has been seeing an unusually big crowd in the Park for the past week.  Good news spread fast.  The following Sunday, Patricia and Tiffany were the first to arrive in the Park and the last to leave it.  At first Patricia wanted to be sure that Tiffany can navigate around the programs on the computer, and the ease of navigation in Edubuntu allowed her to learn very quickly.  Once Tiffany discovered the TuxType typing program, she got entirely immersed in it, having a great time with her new friends – the penguins!

Soon Patricia can start working on her projects, enjoying the Wi-Fi connection in the Park, and still being able to keep an eye on her playful daughter, who this time was entirely focused on the typing games, which were giving her both the play and the skill building practice.