“The Freedom Foundation recently asked some good questions about Minneapolis Wireless and the Minneapolis Digital Inclusion Fund (DIF). As a reminder: US Internet Wireless provides wireless service to Minneapolis.
Part of their original contract included a clause that said that they would contribute on an ongoing basis to the DIF. Apparently that’s not going as well as planned.”
BRIDGEdotMN is a collaboration among TECHdotMN, Project for Pride in Living (PPL), CTEP AmeriCorps, and Mobile Citizen formed to equip local youth with resources that increase their digital literacy skills. Collectively, we invest in Minnesota’s future by providing a computer, mobile broadband and technical training for a local student in need.
To date, TECHdotMN has donated 51% of gross revenue to fund the program — which is now impacting 21 individuals throughout the Twin Cities. Thanks to all who help make a difference + Chuck Olson for the promo video.
Local technology, non-profit and government sectors have made Minnesota a hotbed for digital inclusion initiatives. The annual Digital Inclusion Forum hosted by the Technology Literacy Collaborative (TLC) on November 3rd, 2011 will pull together technology professionals, social agencies, business leaders and policy makers to explore digital inclusion initiatives in Minnesota and share collaborative ideas.
It is without question that we are in a technology-based society where digital literacy skills are essential for citizens to fully participate in economic, civic, educational, and social activities. In other words, the well-being and prosperity of our state is now proportionate to the degree of our collective digital wherewithal.
Imagine you need to jump online and check the bus schedule to get to an emergency doctor’s appointment. You turn the computer on — but it asks you to come back between 9 am and 5 pm Monday through Friday. Or, maybe there’s a message which informs you that the waiting time for Internet access is another hour.
Can you imagine? This is currently the real-life experience for many homeless Minnesotans.
According to a report released this month titled “Envisioning an Internet Center for Homeless Individuals”, there are 151 locations throughout the Twin Cities that offer free internet access, although most of these options are only available 9 am to 5pm Monday through Friday. Two notable exceptions are Minneapolis and St. Paul public libraries — but long waiting lines and restrictions often limit access there, too. For example, at St. Paul library, patrons are not allowed to use the computer for more than one hour each day. For people with limited computer experience, much of that time can easily be used in just logging in and navigating through a desired resource.
“Two contract digital literacy consultants are needed to assist with development of an online assessment tool — the next step toward implementation of the North Star Digital Literacy Standards:
- An Online Design Specialist to develop an online assessment for basic digital literacy standards which have been developed through a community process. Approximately 600 hours over nine months.
- An Educational Specialist to work with the online design specialist, to help insure assessment is relevant and accessible to low skilled adults. Approximately 360 hours over nine months.
Job description and details are attached. Please email application, including relevant skills and experience to Tom Cytron-Hysom [thysom at real-time.com] by July 6th for consideration.”
Minnesota is part of a federal multi-state Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant that will provide Adult Basic Education (ABE) digital literacy training through self-paced online classes and tutor assistance.
The program will introduce learners to computer and Internet skills, high-speed Internet resources and using the Internet for career planning.
The Minnesota Literacy Council (MLC) will serve as fiscal agent for the Minnesota portion of the grant, with management assistance from the St. Paul Community Literacy Consortium. The $5.8 M grant includes $3.3 M in federal funding and $2.5 M in matching funds (across five states), and is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2010 (ARRA).
In continuing their mission to share the power of learning through education, community building and advocacy, the Minnesota Literacy Council is ready to help low-income Minnesotans bridge the digital divide through this project.
‘The $4.8 million Emerge Career and Technology Center will help address a growing digital divide in North Minneapolis.
Emerge Community Development will redevelop the former North Branch Library at 1834 Emerson Avenue North, to make way for the center, which will offer a wide variety of programming pertaining to emerging careers, with an emphasis on green jobs, according to Emerge executive director Mike Wynne.
Training will deal with entrepreneurship, job skills, and career learning, while several learning labs, computer kiosks, multi-use conference rooms, and offices will be available.”
On your phone, your laptop, or your tablet — Internet access on the go is quickly moving from luxury to necessity. Fortunately, Denver-based nonprofit Mobile Citizen exists to deliver service exclusively to the most under-served areas of our society that often have limited access (at best) to the mobile web: schools and nonprofits.
After years of preparation and planning, the initiative has landed in our own backyard, actively searching for partnerships.
Founded in the mid-1980’s by five nonprofit foundations to transmit educational videos in schools across the country, these organizations collectively provide services via Educational Broadband Spectrum (EBS) under the Mobile Citizen brand. In 2006, Mobile Citizen entered into an unique excess capacity agreement with Clearwire Corporation (known as CLEAR locally) which allows for expanded offerings — specifically affordable access to CLEAR’s 4G WiMAX network for local groups in the nonprofit and educational space.
“Families in the Hawthorne neighborhood of north Minneapolis got a chance to mark Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday Monday in a 21st century fashion — with technology.
An event in the neighborhood marking the holiday was sponsored by The Digital Divide Initiative, which is trying to get computers into the homes of low-income families with young children, to help close the technology gap between rich and poor.”
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