Project Logic Model
What makes a project happen? Well, lots of things, but if you don’t begin with a clear understanding of resources and assets, you won’t get too far. Our biggest resource is Tracy Dace, one of the partners in the Marcus Garvey School of Leadership vision and, conveniently, program coordinator down the street at the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club. We also count ourselves and the young men we will be meeting with, donated computers (I think ours ended up coming from the Fab Lab), and the OEOA funding that made it all come together. In short: people, stuff, and money.
Some of the activities we planned to do included checking the building for adequate electric infrastructure, installing things needed for internet hookup, arranging six tables, six workstation computers, one administrative computer, and a printer into a Local Area Network, choosing and installing Windows OS and various software on each of the computers, painting, buying digital media tools, and training the youngsters in networking and maintenance.
Just as it is important to know your assets, an important step in the project plan is having a clear vision for what will come of it. With this in mind we talked with Tracy to ask the big question: WHY. The answer is a mix of the obvious and the not-so-obvious, informing each step of the project planning to keep us on track. WHY included: to improve student performance and health, to inspire active learning and community participation, to foster a sense of responsibility and agency, to develop a space that feels creative but safe, and to encourage a flourishing community space.
Because we are working not only on a new computer lab but also within a new institution that is still in the very early stages of development, the space will change immensely over time, and not in ways we can definitively predict. Because of this uncertainty, a conscious focus on sustainability is vital to the success of the project in the months and years to come.
As is outlined in more detail elsewhere, the school’s plan is to begin as a summer and after school program for elementary school children and progress toward a high school for males with the possibility of keeping the computer lab open evenings for the community, so we tried to keep in mind this diversity of users in designing the project. This includes not just accounting for different age groups, but also for different activities: tutoring and teaching both one-on-one and with groups, media literacy projects, many levels of research, etc. For example, in choosing software to install on the computers we consciously included tools that would work for both children and adults in many different environments; when tools were not so versatile, we installed different software to accommodate both. We also were able to get some input from a high school student involved with the Boys and Girls Club, who helped us decide on the Windows XP operating system and several media editing software programs.
In terms of the physical space of the lab, we incorporated flexibility into the design by building and installing individual computer tables on wheels. These allow for modular design; they can be arranged in a circle, line, separate throughout the space, or any combination. Three will be sitting height and three will be standing, accommodating both different working styles and the different heights of the users.
In addition to designing both the technology and the space of the lab for flexibility, the main area where sustainability of the project will play out is through documentation. This site will serve as a publicly available record of what we accomplished, but also we will create several documents to hand off to the school: a maintenance checklist with how-to style information on maintaining and updating the computers, network, and software; a list of hardware and software; and instructions for setting up filtering through open DNS (we will not be able to do this as the internet access is yet to be set up). It is our intention that this documentation will ensure the knowledge of the network we have set up and how to maintain it into the future will be preserved as the site progresses.
Project Transition Checklist