ellohay! West Michigan

What does ellohay! West Michigan do?

spiral

Ellohay! West Michigan is built around three principle goals; Earn a Laptop, Technical Literacy, and Tech Support.

As participants make their way through the program, they will be provided a laptop donated to the organization by West Michigan businesses, loaded with Linux Ubuntu and other open-source software by volunteers.

In order to obtain ownership of the laptop, participants will participate in 8 hours of community service, as well as attend workshops to meet prearranged technical literacy benchmarks that they have created for themselves with an ellohay! Volunteer Counselor.

Eventually the hope is that the community service will continue beyond the program, and graduating individuals will share their new skills among homes and neighborhoods as a grass-roots line of tech support.

If you have a gently-used laptop to donate, please call (616) 446-3622, and we’ll pick it up. It will go to a good home and live a new life in West Michigan!

We also need sponsors for our upcoming pilot program with West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) this Fall.

You, your group, or business can sponsor one student for three months for just $170. She’ll receive a laptop, hands-on workshops, a mentor, and technical support.

If you have questions, email me Marie-Claire at marie-claire (at) ellohay.org. Cheers!

ellohay! west michigan video update, episode 1

The first rough-n-tumble installment of our video update for ellohay! west michigan. ellohay! west michigan is dedicated to making positive differences in the lives of under-served individuals within the West Michigan area through healthy, sustainable, meaningful, connections with technology.

http://www.twitter.com/ellohay

OpenSolaris and Dismantling The Digital Divide For People With Disabilities

Posted in accessibility, education, programs, research, software by forgr on December 12, 2008

A recent post from Sun Federal (creators of OpenOffice, Solaris and OpenSolaris) on the digital exclusion of individuals with disabilities, information on Section 508 and a crazy statistic about unemployment.

The digital divide does not stop at mere access to IT and online information though; it is also about being able to afford access. Over 70% of blind and low vision citizens in the United States are unemployed. People with other severe disabilities have similar employment statistics. Assistive technology software costs as much as $1,095 for a screen reader that enables blind people to use their computers, which means that access to computing is out of reach for the majority of Americans with disabilities.

Read the full article here.

Brush up on Solaris, OpenSolaris, Xeon and Intel’s work with me:

Solaris

OpenSolaris

Intel’s Xeon

Section 508

GNOME Screencasts

Jaws Screen Reader

Next post: Project updates

One Laptop per Child XO Laptop (Give a Laptop, Get a Laptop)

Posted in donations, education, good news, hardware resources, laptops by forgr on November 17, 2008

You can purchase an XO Laptop on Amazon.com today. Absolutely brilliant.

If you’re looking for a way to give to the world, buy one for a child in a distant land and get one for yourself for $399. Or if you feel like you have too many toys in your office…

XO Laptop

Now is the chance to place an XO laptop in a loving home here in West Michigan. We’ve started an Amazon Wish List for the Digital Inclusion Project/Ellohay! West Michigan, so when you buy from our Wish List, it will go directly to an under-served child here in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

You can browse our list here:

My Amazon.com Wish List

If her guardian agrees, we’ll interview, post video and pictures to track her progress with her new laptop here.

We have a high hopes, so we have 100 XOs, 100 EePCs, laptop sleeves, and a few printers, and optical mice in our Amazon.com Wish List too.

If $399 is a little too much for your budget, you can put a child in charge of her own data by purchasing a usb drive for just $4.

Some XO testamonials from the OLPC page on Amazon.


“I use my computer very carefully so that it will not spoil. I use it to type, I use it to write, I use it to draw, I use it to play games… I’m using my computer at home to type assignments.” — T. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I like the laptop because I always snap pictures… I snap pictures and I play games; we use… Google [Internet]. I put it in Write and use it in class work.” — S. (Primary 4), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Sometimes I play football and sometimes I stay in the classroom… I operate my laptop: I write, draw, and record music… At home, I go turn on the television and record music.” — C. (Primary 5), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“I think the laptop is very good. It helps us to find some words, like our uncle [teacher] will teach us… The things we didn’t know, we go check on the laptop.” — T. (Primary 6), Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

What Teachers Are Saying

“With the laptop we can say that our school is really elevated because the children are really learning more… They see themselves discovering things that they have never been doing before.” — Mrs. M., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Pupils go even beyond what I can teach in the class. It’s a very interesting thing to use. I personally have a better idea about teaching… We discovered that giving them time to discover something and to do it in their own way, they feel more happy and they are so excited in using it that, ‘Yes, I discovered it! Yes, I can get it!! Yes, I can do this on my own!!!’ Teaching is getting more interesting and less stressful.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

“Some children are naturally faster than the others; we discovered that they go ahead of the class. They can teach their mates that, ‘Look I got it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it, this is how you do it.’ This way the slower children also are catching up. When the children can learn on their own, apart from what they can learn in class, they go faster above their mates in other places.” — Mr. O., Galadima School, Abuja, Nigeria

See the One Laptop per Child XO Laptop on Amazon.com.

UK study says digital inclusion makes people more confident

Posted in data, education, good news, membership benefits, research by forgr on October 10, 2008

Google Reader brought great news to me this morning in the form of an article from 24dash.com titled “New research links digital inclusion and social impact”. Yes, you read it correctly. An excerpt,

More than 12,000 people took part in the social impact demonstrator projects between January 2007 and March 2008. By the end of the project, participants were more likely to feel confident, and 40% had progressed into further training, employment, information, advice and guidance.

Working with the computers helped to improve people’s maths and English, and they were more likely to spend time with friends and family, and more likely to connect with and help out in their communities.

Published by Hannah Wooderson for 24dash.com in Communities, Wednesday 8th October 2008 – 3:38pm.

So in other words, this is really good news. It proves what I’ve been (just) insisting over the last 10 months. And yes, it’s just the beginning, I’m sure there will be ongoing studies to discover the long term impact, and more studies that out-right contradict it. However this is one more juicy juicy morsel that will help convince future partners, collaborators and potential funders that what we’re doing is good for our community.

Keep it coming, we need all the proof we can get.

Online safety tips from Google and AARP

Posted in education, links for community, privacy and safety by forgr on October 8, 2008

I ran across this article this morning on the Official Google Blog on educating our 50+ citizens (AARP members) on online safety. Google and AARP created a series of clear and helpful informative videos that even I (27, internet savvy) enjoyed watching.

Up until now, a majority of 50+ people relied on other savvy individuals (neighbors, Best Buy’s Geek Squad, children, patient grand children etc.) to explain things to them. But the problem still remains that those explanations aren’t always captured (written down, recorded) efficiently, aren’t always as clear, or in depth as they often need to be. My mom (59) who’s pretty quick with computers and internet navigation, calls me every once to ask questions about uploading, downloading, formatting files, and the occasional email question too.

From the Official Google Blog article:

Now more than ever before, older Americans are logging on and surfing the web to stay in touch with family and friends, read websites and blogs, share photos, watch videos, and run online businesses. Like all Internet users, they’re sometimes faced with unsafe activity online, such as viruses and malware, and they’re looking for resources to learn how to keep their information on the web safe, private, and under their control.

A few of the videos that AARP and Google created together. Check out the video “Know what’s posted about you online” it’s clear, descriptive and an extremely good primer for those of us who are just starting out online.

Read more here.