Back in March I wrote about the Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP), a Twin Cities based AmeriCorps initiative supporting low-income communities and new immigrants. In addition to teaching digital literacy skills at the host organizations, CTEP members work in groups on civic engagement projects, developing resources or events to improve digital inclusions by collaborating with a community partner.

This week I attended a showcase of the CTEP members’ civic engagement projects. Each group gave an overview of their project, discussed what worked well, and suggested changes that would make the project more successful if it were offered again. Here’s a sample of the projects they worked on this year:

  • Net Inclusion 2017 – If you attended the conference in St. Paul and enjoyed the first night’s dinner reception, needed directions to get to your next session, or started your morning with a bagel and coffee, you benefited from CTEP’s involvement. They learned about all the logistics of planning a large national conference while learning about digital inclusion and networking with colleagues across the country.
  • Digital Homeroom – This group created a website housing a collection of digital literacy tools that instructors can customize based on their students’ various levels and paces of learning. They include an evaluation rubric to help instructors choose the more appropriate resources for their classes.
  • Twin Cities Techettes – Another group planned and taught week-long camps to introduce teen girls to STEM fields and to women who have careers in STEM. Participants learned about 3D modeling programs, coding, animation, and much more through hands-on activities. During their presentation, they mentioned FabFems, a website featuring women in STEM fields willing to be mentors.

Each of the projects had successes and challenges. They each benefitted the local community and could also be adapted to work with other communities and partnerships.

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