This logic map outlines the resources we are working with for our 451 Generations of Hope computer lab renovation project, as well as the activities and outputs we hope to see as a result of this lab renovation and how the improvements will contribute to Generations of Hope’s short-term, mid-term and long-term goals.
- Upgraded RAM so each computer has at least 2 GB
- 6 adjustable desk chairs on wheels
- 1 custom table and shelf for corner to facilitate group collaboration and projects
- 1 Logitech web cam
- 3 flatscreen computer monitors and cables
- 2 USB Mice
- Paint and supplies
- Windows 7 operating system upgrades
- Loads of hospitality and good food! 🙂
- Generations of Hope Computer Committee and Project Team
- 451 Team (Jennie Archer, Rachel Lux, Adam Mann, Colleen McClowry & Andrei Rosulesce
- Martin Wolske and Adam Rusch
Furniture & Room Decor:
- Chairs: New chairs were a request we received from the Computer Committee, and we were happy to oblige once we secured grant money for the project. The chairs that were being used in the lab were small, uncomfortable and were not easily moved (as they did not have wheels). They were also mismatched. Once we decided we were going to have six workstations, we were able to order six new office chairs. We looked for a model that was a neutral color (we decided on black); had wheels, armrests and an adjustable height. We feel these chairs will better accommodate both adult and child users, as well as make it easier to shift seating and collaborate on projects. Three or four chairs will easily fit at the custom table at the same time, giving residents a comfortable place to collaborate.
- Table: A custom L-shaped pod table with an innovative design was then built after we cleaned, cleared and painted the room. The table was custom-built to fit the southeast corner of the lab. Stationing the pod table away from the other computers in an unused corner created more space and provided enough room for several people to be working on this computer station at once. We also hooked up the web cam to this work station, because the collaborative nature of the table would work well with group videoconferencing. The table also has extra space on either end, away from the computer, that could be used for non-computer projects or for a space for residents to use their personal laptops or other devices. The “butcher block” laminate finish for the table was chosen to match the new wall color but to remain neutral enough it would easily adapt to future paint colors/additional furniture that may be put in place down the road. We finished all edges of the tabletop and the adjoining shelves with black T-molding to give it a finished, professional look.
The shelves were a last-minute addition–but one we’re happy with. After seeing the depth of the table after the initial build in Martin’s wood shop, we decided the space would be better utilized if there were shelves in the corner. Not only do these shelves create additional storage space, but they also make that space more accessible, since it is so deep.
- Wall Color: We remembered from past collaborative space design lectures and readings that we should have warm colors in our room redesign; since such colors have been proven to positively influence collaboration according to tested evidence based design principles. So, after having cleaned and dried the walls, we selected and painted with a warm bright orange hue called ‘Citrus Punch.’ This color not only brightened and warmed the room, it also matched the warmth of the rest of the IGC and other community spaces at Generations of Hope.
- Floor Plan: When we began working in the lab, all of the computers were on tables facing the walls. We discussed changing the floor plan so that the computers might be able to be arranged in a more collaborative style (pods, tables perpendicular to walls rather than parallel, etc.). However, given both the shape of the room itself (L-shaped) and the Computer Committee’s desire to easily monitor the young people’s internet use, we decided the community would best be served by leaving the computers facing the walls. However, we did space them out more, placing two to a table along the north wall, and one on the table with the printer along the west wall. This not only opened the space up a bit, but still provided a spot where residents can work individually with a sufficient amount of privacy or work together in pairs or small groups with plenty of table space around each computer.
Administration & Management:
- User Accounts: The staff at Generations of Hope was looking for a more consistent way to provide computer access to different types of users, while providing a uniform experience on each work station. We decided the best way to do this was to beef up the accounts Generations of Hope had already established: Hope Child and Hope Adult, and leaving all upload/download/system management permissions, etc. on the Hope Admin account.
Network & Security:
- OpenDNS: The main reason we reconfigured the network in the IGC lab to incorporate two routers was to support the OpenDNS internet filtering system. The Computer Committee wanted their wireless internet connection to be free of any filtering, while the wired workstations in the lab that are used by the young people would have an internet filter in place. Read more about our OpenDNS process in the Establishing a Network and Setting up Open DNS section of the Obstacles We’ve Overcome page. By redoing the network connections, we were able to put both routers in place, and also network all of the computers to one single printer (previously, four printers had been out in the lab, but no one was sure how many worked/which computer had to be on to print where). Now, the printer is incorporated into the network, and all print jobs from any computer in the lab will go to the same printer.
- Anti-Virus Software: The IGC lab computers already had AVG Anti-Virus software installed, but we updated the software on each computer, and also set the automatic updates to run overnight, while the lab is not being used, to help residents avoid dealing with the pop-up notifications.
- Operating System, programs/applications, web browsers, etc: The software updates we made came almost exclusively from the conversations we had with the Computer Committee, the administration and other Generations of Hope residents. We wanted to provide up-to-date programs, productivity software and educational games. Some of the choices, like sound, image and video editing software, came from the Computer Committee’s desire to be able to create more multi-media projects. Major upgrades, like moving from Windows XP to Windows 7, weren’t in our initial plan. However, Generations of Hope was able to secure licenses from TechSoup for the upgrade, and we were happy to move forward in that direction. View the full software list.
Computers (Hardware & Peripherals):
- Memory Upgrade: Outside of the computer that had been built by Simplified Computers, the workstations in the IGC lab were lacking sufficient memory to run multiple programs and applications at once at a reasonable speed. We purchased RAM upgrades with grant money so that each machine in the lab would have at least 2 GB of memory (we also increased the memory of the computer we moved to the library). We determined that the lack of memory was the source of many of the residents’ complaints about computer speed, and so we made it our main “tech” priority for the lab. Read more about the memory upgrades on the Obstacles We’ve Overcome page.
- Computer Monitors: We replaced three of the computer monitors with flat-screen monitors from 451’s donated collection. That way, all of the monitors are flat-screen, even though they’re not all exactly the same model. We thought this not only looked better from a design perspective, but also improved the graphics and screen quality for the three computers that were still using older models.
- USB Mice: We also were able to secure two USB mice from 451’s donated collection. These mice work better when it comes to troubleshooting than the PS/2 connected mice and accommodate several of the computers that do not have PS/2 mouse connections.
- Logitech Webcam: To honor another Computer Committee request, we were happy to purchase a webcam with some of our grant money. The webcam was installed on the work station at the custom table, though it will be easy to move from work station to work station if necessary. We hope that the web cam will be used for collaboration with outside organizations and communities and also for residents to gain experience with video recording projects and applications.
The intended outcomes from this project are all inspired by the strong community and sense of belonging Generations of Hope promotes. We want the computer lab to be able to play a role in fostering and sustaining the inter-generational relationships among the community members, as well as people and organizations outside of Generations of Hope. Specifically:
- Increase information literacy skills for staff and residents
By upgrading the computers’ functionality, installing additional educational and productivity-focused programs and improving the collaborative environment, residents and staff will not only be exposed to more technology, they will also have a better opportunity to help one another learn to use it.
- Strengthen community ties
With improved computer functionality and additional tech devices (such as the web cam), more collaborative projects can happen in the IGC computer lab. When residents of all ages work together on projects that require the lab to complete, they will be building upon the already strong relationships Generations of Hope promotes. We also hope that videoconferencing services such as Skype will provide opportunities for Generations of Hope residents to communicate and collaborate with other community organizations and groups with similar interests.
- Instruction and Life-Long Learning
Many residents at Generations of Hope have invaluable skills they can share with other community members. In an improved computer lab setting, more instruction opportunities and workshops could take place, where residents or volunteers can teach one another how to use different programs and equipment. For example, children interested in learning basic computer programming would benefit from a member of the Computer Committee holding a workshop on Alice, an open-source programming application.
We want to leave the lab in a place where it is very easy for administration to manage, as far as the upkeep of programs and hardware. By updating as much as possible, improving the computers’ RAM and setting a maintenance schedule for security and program updates, much of this will be in place and will only need monitored. By demonstrating account settings and managing the OpenDNS filtering system, administration will be able to continue to adjust these as needs warrant.
- Sense of Empowerment
When we first met with Generations of Hope’s Computer Committee, they expressed a sense of frustration with the lab in terms of computer speed, lack of consistency and unusable equipment. We hope by improving the functionality of the computer, paring down the programs to the most useful and needed and making the space more enjoyable to be in, the residents will feel a sense of pride and ownership over the lab, and continue working to adapt it and its functionality to best serve their communities’ evolving needs.
Over time, we hope this space will continue to evolve with Generation of Hope’s needs. By providing a solid foundation that involves more structured account management and a well-equipped program list, we hope that sustainability and flexibility are engineered into the plan naturally.
We are providing information about the open source programs that we installed on the computers, in the hopes that more of these free options can continue to be used in the future, as upgrades are needed. By scheduling automatic updates and upgrades for these programs (along with the new operating system), we hope that a general level of sustainability will be achieved automatically. When the residents are ready for a larger-scale upgrade down the road, we hope that it will seem less overwhelming because small upgrades have been happening over time. Physically, the computers and existing tables are all easy to move and rearrange, as need dictates (either for space or for access to networking points, such as ethernet connections, etc.) The custom table will be difficult to move, but we hope we built it in a way that it can evolve with the lab’s needs in the location it is now (for example, the shelving could easily be changed, taken out or added to).
We have put together troubleshooting guides, posters and a binder of necessary information for maintaining accounts, the operating system and other major programs. We hope this will help ease any frustration that users experienced in the past with troubleshooting and system errors, and make the computer lab a more inviting, user-friendly place for collaboration and continued learning.
For training, we met with administration to discuss and offer insight on maintaining accounts, monitoring security and general troubleshooting. We specifically discussed maintaining the OpenDNS internet filtering program (as the wired connection is filtered and the wireless connection is not) and setting up different levels of user accounts. We also hope to offer training for any interested community members on programs and maintenance at a technology “petting zoo.”
Project Transition Checklist
|February 21, 2012||Our group had our first meeting with the Generations of Hope computer committee. We discussed who they are as a community and what their vision is for the lab.|
|March 6, 2012||Our group held a phone conference with Elaine and Ashley to discuss our first logic map.|
|March 8, 2012||Adam, Jennie, and Rachel met with the Generations of Hope computer committee to discuss the first logic map and to get feedback on our ideas for the second logic map. They then went to the lab and took more specific measurements and gathered the computer specs necessary to determine RAM upgrades.|
|March 13, 2012||Martin and representatives from each 451 group met to review each group’s proposal and determine how the grant money should be allocated. Our group secured $710.45 which we used to purchase a web cam, RAM upgrades, six computer chairs, and a custom built table and shelves.|
|March 14, 2012||Adam, Colleen, and Rachel visited the lab to confirm that we were purchasing the correct type of RAM for the computers.|
|April 2, 2012||Adam, Andrei, Colleen, and Jennie prepped the lab for painting and installed the RAM upgrades.|
|April 6, 2012||Our group painted the lab.|
|April 16, 2012||Andrei and Jennie helped Martin begin constructing the custom built table.|
|April 17, 2012||Our group touched up the paint in the lab and cleaned up after painting. We began organizing the furniture and deciding what items should remain in the lab and which items should be removed.|
|April 20, 2012||Adam, Jennie, and Rachel began setting up the network in the lab. They also tested the computers to determine if they would support Windows 7, labeled each workstation, and took an inventory of each computer so Generations of Hope has a record of what normal is. We also took an inventory of the printer, routers, and switches and hubs that includes make and model numbers and other machine specific information.|
|April 23, 2012||Andrei, Colleen, and Rachel helped Martin finish constructing the table and shelves.|
|April 24, 2012||Our group and Martin visited the lab to assemble the custom built table and shelf. Our group also cleaned the keyboards, and set up Open DNS to filter the wired Internet connection while the wireless router provides unfiltered Internet access. We also began setting up the networked printing.|
|April 27, 2012||Adam, Andrei, and Jennie brought five of the six chairs to the lab and assembled them. We also began downloading Windows 7 onto the lab computers, tested the surplus printers and scanners to determine what worked and what did not, and, with permission, discarded outdated manuals and software disks that were no longer usable.|
|May 3, 2012||Adam, Andrei, Colleen, and Jennie delivered and assembled the last office chair. We also downloaded and installed Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 as well as an assortment of multimedia software and educational games onto each computer. We tested the networked printing to confirm that it works and began setting up user accounts and management settings.|
|Week of May 7, 2012||Our group finished up odds and ends in the lab and Jennie and Rachel created the posters and binders and meet with Elaine and Ashley to explain the changes and turn over all documentation.|
|May 7, 2012||Generations of Hope hosted a Computer Lab Open House from 4:30-5:30.|
|May 10, 2012||Generations of Hope hosted a Computer Lab Day from 4:30-5:30.|