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Objectives for Integrating Technology

Computers installed in the Word would have to meet several requirements. First, they would need to allow the viewing, downloading, and/or printing of information from the Internet. Second, they should provide access to educational software and multimedia in a range of formats. Thirdly, they should provide an educational platform, both for computing and for the applications of computing, especially for seniors. Finally, they should encourage appropriate, creative, and expanded uses of the space in a way that respects community values and existing uses, enhances community resources, and benefits the Word’s business as a whole.

We addressed these goals by configuring computers for several different applications. We installed three general purpose computers on mobile desks to allow for the space to be flexibly and easily reconfigured, and one multimedia machine dedicated to creating and playing multimedia and facilitating and enhancing the uses of the meetings space. We also created custom user profiles and Firefox profiles tailored to the needs and interests of the Word Cafe patrons and community, and provided a large selection of open source tools that can be used in a variety of different ways to both teach and create and thus meet the needs we identified for the Word Cafe project.