In some of our earliest conversations, Matthew Kopel, the project manager for the NDIA Pilot Corps, directed us to (and I’m paraphrasing) break down silos like we’re a wrecking crew. So what exactly does this mean? It means identifying silos of information, stores of digital inclusion resources, and opening the gates for all interested or needy partners to use. So far it has been my experience that this type of activity is a specialty of NDIA. Let me give you just one example of this kind of silo busting or information sharing so far in my work on ExploraConnect.

ExploraConnect uses existing Explora Science Center outreach to help educate families about affordable internet solutions in their community. During the Net Inclusion Conference 2017 I was lucky enough to attend a breakout session with speaker Kelly McCarthy, of Tech Goes Home Chattanooga. During the session she shared this chart which simply and logically sets out low-cost internet options, how to find them, how to qualify, and the pros and cons of each. Fortunately I was able to find a copy of this chart on the NDIA website, verify that most of the offerings were the same for the location of our first outreach and modify the ones that weren’t. In the space of an hour I was able to adapt this chart for use in our first trial outreach through ExploraConnect.

Though I will have to change the chart for each outreach (I want to mention hear that McKinley County in New Mexico, one of the two counties ExploraConnect will be reaching, is the size of Connecticut, so internet options vary accordingly) I have a huge step forward simply using the same format and vetting pre-compiled information. In this silo busting spirit let me also share the adapted chart.

Because of the work of Tech Goes Home Chattanooga, 12 families in Bernalillo County New Mexico have the information to connect to the internet and a framework for safe and educational online use. In my next post I will talk about Dine’ College Library and ExploraConnects mission to help the library staff better serve their computer using patrons.

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