Low Cost Broadband Seminar June 19

What are the different options for residents to get low cost broadband at home? What are non-profits doing to refer people to the different programs? The national EveryoneOn Ad Campaign is starting to launch in Seattle. The Community Technology Program will be hosting a seminar on these options and EveryoneOn, tentatively scheduled for June 19 in the morning. If you are interested in participating, email communitytechnology@seattle.gov.

OneAmerica Finds Success with Digital Approach to Language Learning

One America English Innovations Graduates

One America English Innovations Graduates

OneAmerica  provided a 13-week series English Innovations classes this winter, with support from the 2013 Technology Matching Fund, for immigrants living and working in Seattle.   Twenty-four immigrants learned a combination of English and technology skills through English Innovations’ unique blended program model.     During weekly classes, a technology coach and dedicated volunteers assisted students with basic computer and Internet skills, as well as English grammar and conversation.  Students  used language-learning software provided by Livemocha, a Rosetta Stone-like online tool.  They also  received loaner laptops with Internet access to continue with required practice outside of class.

One student, Aoxiang, is married and moved to the US from China in 2008. She speaks Cantonese, her native language, and reads and writes Mandarin. She had taken ESL classes before, but had to quit because of her work schedule.

Aoxiang enrolled in an English Innovations class held at the Best Western Executive Inn in the evenings, and says she found the course more fun and interesting than the ESL class she had previously taken. She does not have a computer at home and her cell phone does not have Internet access. Instead she uses a computer at the public library. Now, after taking the class, she sends emails and talks on Skype with friends and family. She also uses the Internet to check her work schedule, request days off, and find directions. She did not know how to do these things before.

Aoxiang says the class has changed her life. Now, when she talks with people, she is more fluent and more confident and people understand her more quickly. She no longer has to repeat herself all the time at work or in the grocery store. Now, when she has a question to ask of someone, she can do so herself and no longer has to rely on her son to interpret. She says she would love to take another English Innovations class, perhaps at a slightly higher level.

Congratulations, Aoxiang, and to all the other English Innovations graduates!  For more information on the project, contact Becky Pogany.

Digital Media and Learning Competition Summer Youth Project $

June 10 is the deadline for applications for up to $10,000 to bring together youth, programmers, designers, and educators to develop prototypes for social tools, including apps, badges, and curriculum in pursuit of a better Web. See more here.  Also stay tuned for their Open Competition on Digital Tools for Democracy to be announced on June 17.

The Project:Connect Summer Youth Programming Competition is administered by the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC), with support from the MacArthur Foundation through a grant to the University of California, Irvine, and in partnership with the Born This Way Foundation. Grants will support a series of local hands-on events July through September where young people collaborate and compete through activities such as hackathons, maker spaces, digital journalism and communications labs, and mentoring workshops. Programs must be based on the understanding that learning happens anywhere, anytime and should be equitable, social, participatory, and reflect kids’ interests.

Winners: RecTech Youth Media Interns!

RecTech Youth Media Interns at Delridge CC were awarded a prize at the Museum of History and Industry’s “History Is __?”   Short Film Contest for the second year in a row!

Interns Allison Charoni, Liban Mohamud, and Cheyenne Fenton won the Youth History Award for their stop motion film “History is Her Story.”  The May 11th gala screening, awards presentation, and reception was enjoyed by all.  Congratulations to the RecTech Youth Media Institute, and special thanks to Allison, Cheyenne, and Liban for their dedication and hard work!

You can view their short film entries from this year and last, along with all of the MOHAI winning films, at a kiosk in the museum’s fabulous new exhibit, “Celluloid Seattle.”  You can also go to vimeo.com/rectechseattle and view some of the work our YMI students have completed.

“Seniors Training Seniors” Volunteers and Students Enjoy Learning, Connecting and Sharing

If you are over 50, there’s no need to feel left behind or frustrated. Contact the Seattle Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens’ Seniors Training Seniors program. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to use a computer or advance current skills, with individualized instruction in a relaxed, attentive, and non-intimidating atmosphere.

“I appreciated the time the program coordinator spent listening to me so that I could take the computer classes that were right for me. I have taken classes in different places before but they were too intense and fast paced. I have been taking computer classes with Seniors Training Seniors and they have lifted my self-esteem and knowledge. The instructors [Paul and Roger] were compassionate, caring, kind and patient—assisting all students in the class at a pace which gave us time to learn and remember. I truly am thankful for this program for seniors—it is a blessing to us—I am so grateful. This experience has led me to help other people who are learning to use computers.”

—Sherry Brown, Seniors Training Seniors student

Seniors Training Seniors classes include MS Windows & Computer Basics, Basics Plus (files, folders, attachments), Word Simplified, Publisher 101, How to Publish a Book Online, Photo Editing, Video Texting, Mentoring 1:1, and resources for online learning. PowerPoint, Outlook, and several others classes may be added in 2013.

Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013

If you don’t like paying a cable television bill for 100+ channels when you really only want to watch a small handful of them, you are not alone and may be interested in this recent federal legislative activity.

In May 2013, Senator McCain (R-Ariz.) sparked a national conversation on cable customer choice by introducing the Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013.  The legislation focuses on promoting consumer choice and allowing customers to buy only those channels they want to watch (called ‘a la carte’).  The legislation also includes a provision to end the practice of blacking out some home sports games when the games takes place in publicly financed stadiums.

The bill contains only voluntary measures, but is still expected to receive strong opposition from cable providers (and television broadcasters) and is predicted to have about a 1% chance of being enacted.  Senator McCain introduced a similar cable à la carte bill back in 2006, which never made it out of committee.

Although this new Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013 may face the same fate, Senator McCain says the legislation serves the purpose of sending a strong message to cable (and satellite) companies that “If you want to continue to enjoy government-afforded regulatory benefits, offer TV-watching Americans an a la carte approach to programming rather than the take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum we have today.”  Some consumer groups believe the legislation signals an important step in the direction of promoting more consumer choice.

Seattle cable customers, if you ever have a complaint, question or comment about your cable service, let the City’s Office of Cable Communications (OCC) by submitting it on-line Comments/Complaint form or calling the Cable Line at (206) 684-8498.

How to Improve User Connectivity to your Wireless Network

Allowing users to connect to your network wirelessly can improve your collaboration and reduce your hardware cost needs. If you’re in a dense area where there are many wireless networks around, connectivity to your network can be a challenge at times.

Every wireless connection device (access point) shares a few channels with other access points; this means signal interference can be great. To reduce the interference, it is a good idea to check which channels other devices in your area are using. To do this you can find many freeware applications for either a smart phone or laptop that will show all devices and their channels in your area.

It is important to know your network connectivity speed–which has nothing to do with your Internet speeds. The most popular public network speeds are B/G/N; B is the slower speed with N being the fastest.

It is important to secure your network; this will keep other users from easily accessing your network. It is best to use WPA security instead of WEP; this will help you to get the fastest network speeds on your network.

Do You Know Where Your Personal Information Is?

The amount of data on the Internet is staggering, says the City of Seattle Deputy Chief Information Security Officer Bryant Bradbury.

As consumers of online services, we create information through our use of social media, online shopping, and many other activities.  Public records are also a source of information about individuals, which can get posted online. It is important to be aware that once this data is online, it can be difficult to remove.

Your habits and tolerance for risk can change over time. The information that you felt comfortable sharing publicly a few years ago may seem like information that you’d now rather take back. You may have found information about you online that is incorrect, misleading, or you simply want to get it removed.  Below are some considerations on how to take ownership and control the data about you.

  • See what information about you is available online
  • Clean up the data you can control
  • Request cleanup of data you don’t control

For details on how to go about these steps, visit our Information Security site.