Site Analysis


Shadow Wood is home to the largest Latino community in the CU area.  Shadow Wood is 30 acres with approximately 1000 residents.  Therefore, there are a lot of Spanish-speaking users.  Lots of kids use the lab space.  The community partners have had to forge a relationship with management.

We are focusing on a socio-technical approach.  So, we want to make the sure the technologies used in the lab will benefit the community.   Ideally the lab will be a safe space where people (anyone in the community) feel comfortable interacting with each other and the technology.

User Study:

I went to the Shadow Wood Lab on 03/04/2013 and stayed for about 2 and 1/2 hours after meeting our community ambassador, Ms. Geovani Olea.  I asked her some questions about the students at Shadow Wood and how they use the computers there.  During this time, I managed to access the BIOS of all but two computers in the lab (one of which Olea was occupying).  I recorded the hardware of the computers, mostly in regards to what processor they employed, what type of memory they held (and how much of it), and what was allotted for video memory.  I recorded the hardware results in a table below.  This helped us figure how the computers should be configured before they were ultimately transferred to the lab. Before that, I will discuss what I was able to determine about the students who regularly visit Shadow Wood.

I asked Olea what sort of applications the students at Shadow Wood typically use.  She informed me that most of the time, the students search online and employ the Firefox web browser (prefer it to the Google Chrome alternative).  From time to time, they are engaged with searching on sites such as youtube.  They also explore a website called “Starfall,” which is designed for younger readers, and it encourages reading with phonics.  There are four main links on this site, the first dealing with completely new readers to teach them the basics of word construction.  From there, each level is designed to be compatible with more advanced levels of command of English.  This site is visited typically by the younger students at Shadow Wood, as the fifth graders who travel to Shadow Wood would presumably mastered reading skills to this point (though perhaps not in every case).

I continued to ask about how the computers were used.  I found that there was more general entertainment use from these machines.  Olea explained that they will browse for ‘games’ under the Firefox/Google search bar.  From time to time, a subscription must be paid to access these games, and Olea explained that she must monitor the children at the lab to ensure that they do not attempt to access these games.  I then asked about what sort of things she would do to help the students with their homework.  She explained that fifth grade students typically ask her for assistance with formatting documents on (primarily) Microsoft Word, such as creating footnotes or headers.  She also explained that outside of computers, she is a general aid for homework for these students.  Typically, she will assist students who struggle with math and help other students master the English language, which may not be their primary tongue.  Interestingly, she also evaluates whether students completed their required reading assignments.  This is facilitated by a worksheet that the students provide her, and she evaluates whether they read the material by the criteria listed on that sheet.  These are some of her responsibilities at Shadow Wood’s lab.

The following chart describes what sort of hardware is currently installed on the computers at Shadow Wood’s lab.  It is not complete, as I did not access the BIOS on one computer, and Olea required one the day I visited.  This is meant to determine what should be added to the newer computers our group hopes to install at Shadow Wood.




RAM (amount, type)

Required Video RAM


Pentium 4


Default use 8 MB, opt. set to 1 MB.


Pentium 4

1024 MB of DDR SDRAM



Pentium 4, 3.0 GHz


Default use 8 MB, opt. set to 1 MB


Pentium 4, 3.0 GHz


Default use 8 MB, opt. set to 1 MB


Pentium 4, 3.0 GHz

1.5 GB of DDR2 SDRAM

Default use 8 MB, opt. set to 1 MB


Pentium 4, 3.0 Ghz

1.5 GB of DDR2 SDRAM

Default use 8 MB, opt. set to 1 MB

Earlier in April, I managed to get back to learn about some of the programs used at Shadow Wood on these computers.  I planned on going to the internet and downloading as many of these programs as possible. I knew already that the students preferred Firefox from previous visits, which was one of the first downloaded.  I learned also that the students will employ the GIMP image editor software, which will allow them to alter digital content.  I also understood how open source software was employed on the computers, with programs such as Office Libre and the Foxit Reader.  With programs such as these determined from meetings with our community ambassador and by observing what was on the computers, we were able to come up with various programs to download on each computer that would be installed at Shadow Wood.



-Community Ambassador

-Community Members

-Lab space

-8 Computers, 3 sets of headphones, recording equipment, 9 chairs

Activities and Outputs:

-Homework help

-Open Computer Use

Needs Analysis:

  1.  “Clean up the network” –making sure all computers on same network, have necessary updates, all computers have similar operating system distributions if possible, adding key software (as determined by community need)
  2. Additional computers?
    Is there a need? Is there space? (Is the other table used for homework) How many? How will they be used? Do they have WiFi? Need?
  3.  Additional devices—scanner? Headphones? Microphone? Projector? Etc.
  4. What sort of classes would be helpful to support the community and make use of the technology
  5. Additional seating or tables?


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