ellohay! West Michigan

A Conversation with the Macatawa Media Center

Posted in benchmarks, conversations, players, research, sustainability by forgr on December 13, 2008

I hadn’t forgotten about my conversation with Barb Pyle from the Macatawa Media Center, honestly. I met with her back in early May in their office on E 19th Street in Holland. We discussed their current computer refurbishing program, their television and production programs, and outreach programs.

Barb was very interested in what we are starting here in the Grand Rapids area, and wanted to know how we planned on cultivating and maintaining a genuinely sustainable “business”.

If by sustainable, she’s asking if we might have the capacity to preserve a complex set of programs (earn-a-laptop, digital literacy, technical support) indefinitely, then we’re on the right path.

If being sustainable means promoting stable and healthy communities, restoring environmental quality, and increasing long-term profitability, then yes we’re pointed in the right direction.

We have a lot of planning to do, but if we at least if know what we want and what’s important to us, that brings us closer to determining how we plan on getting it, and knowing once we have it.

Thank you Barb.

Pilot program, thoughts

I met with some chums for lunch this week to discuss a potential pilot program for the laptop project. I woke up early a few mornings ago and started writing ideas down for (potentially) getting this program started. IF this workshop/program/organization is truly needed in our community, it’s going to need to get rolling some time soon right?

I know I’m really getting ahead of myself here, and I know that I’m going to need about 10 more people to help me think about this (that are as crazy as I am) but I need to get this stuff out before I convince myself that this is all a waste of time.

So here goes.

“Geek-a-thon”

WHO?Programmers, Developers, IT people/tech support, Students, anyone who wants to learn or has anything to offer.

WHAT? Round up computers (3 each to begin with), clear them off, record problems, install Ubuntu, install Open Office, install Firefox, plug ins, mark favorites, test, and make the homepage the portal or intranet, create aliases on the desktop. Give ready laptops to people. Eat pizza, drink beer, down monsters. Brainstorm about the concept, talk about potential problems, get opinions.

WHERE? Any large space with outlets, tables, centrally located, able to have food and drinks, stay as long as we want.

WHY? Introduce the program, get computers ready, get ideas from the community, get ideas for education, bring the community together on a level playing ground, do something good for the area, get sign ups for volunteers, get feedback, get potential donors, talk about their next steps.

WHEN? Friday into Saturday? (how long does it take to do?) Overnight, during the weekend? Several dates?

HOW? List from colleges, universities, corporations, studios of possible participants. Make checklist of process. Get an organizational committee together, create website to register participants.

___________________

Other notes:

Press Release?

Play Wii and XBox games?

Music

Display ideas centrally, white boards or large sticky notes on a huge wall

Make sure everyone knows why they are doing what they are doing, get them to feel like they are participating in forming, improving, and nurturing their community.

Video taped? Photos? Audio testamonials?

Make sure everyone knows what their role is next, after the even(s) how can I help?

Get ideas for good links for audiences, (children, single moms, elderly, special needs, manufacturing employees etc.)

Portal/Intranet exploration

___________________

So, Scott thinks that before we do this, we need to legally be a non-profit, we need to have people already in line to get these machines, potentially run the program with just one area of the community (he suggests my street).

I have reservations, that’s four steps ahead. That’s too advanced for a pilot program. I want to fail fast. He suggested that I give one to my little sister, but she has a computer. What does she do with it? Play free online games, and type huge letters in Word… but she’s seven. AND that’s all she’s been taught that computers can do.

So who? Who are idea candidates? How can we support them at this stage in the game? How can it start?

I don’t have my notebook that I took notes with with me this evening, so I’ll comment later, but shoot, I’m stumped and I’m scared, but then again I was scared about the block party too…