Organizational Opportunity, Need, or Problem
The problem of the “Digital Divide” is one of the most discussed issues within the field of community informatics; it describes the lack of access and opportunity for those who cannot access the information in the digital landscape. Through our engagement with the Green Meadows Community Room, we hope to help bridge the divide. Via the computers, we hope that the residents of the Green Meadows apartments will have a chance to create a presence for themselves within the online world, and reap the benefits that access to computers and the Internet provides. While it goes without saying that simply providing computers for people will not automatically make them netizens or tech-savvy, it is nonetheless the first step needed in order to make the changes for the betterment within the community.
Thanks to the machines, people will now be able to get better access to news, opportunities, health-related information, and technical skills that are needed within this age. By providing said technology to the residents, we are making an effort in allowing them to be more independent as well as increasing their awareness for the opportunities that are out there. There are many existing programs within the Green Meadows community that are focused on resume-writing, bible-studying, and overall life skills, thus having computers will surely to enhance those programs and allow for greater learning to happen at Green Meadows. By introducing free software that allows people to create professional resumes, practice their typing skills, and allowing them to participate in the online community, the computers are set to create more opportunities than ever before.
By the end of this semester, we will have a fully functional and Internet capable Linux computer lab installed at the site. We are aiming at providing 6 computers to the lab itself, along with a single machine for Gloria to use to allow for greater connectivity and engagement with the online communities and resources. The main outputs then, are 6 properly secured and connected machines, which contain educational and informational software free of charge for the community. We are also providing a wireless network that can be accessed by anyone, free of charge, to further enhance the capabilities of the community, not just limited to the community library.
On the other end, Green Meadows needed to let us know exactly what their vision of the lab is and what software needs to be installed on the machines, along with proper physical security measures to ensure that the computers stay where they should. Furthermore, we envisioned providing various software securities that will ensure that inappropriate content is inaccessible by the patrons while they are using the lab. Green Meadows, then, needs to have a clear vision of the lab and provide us with enough information so that we can have a clear understanding on how exactly the machines will fit within what the community is trying to accomplish. This way these machines can be used to better the community instead of potentially destroying ideals and bonds are already in place.