In a previous blog on adapting materials I shared this (alongside a brochure), which was the very earliest form of the ExploraConnect parent packet. In this blog I’d like to talk about the parent packet, how it relates to resource networking, what it will include and how I intend to distribute it in the course of a Family Science Night. At the end of this blog I will also share a template and a *finished* version of the packet for an upcoming outreach I intend to do.

What is the parent packet and how does it fit into a Family Science Night outreach? The parent packet is a way for me to compile information that a parent of a child, or a member of a household attending a Family Science Night would be able to make use of to attain digital equity. This packet includes information specifically on

  • Affordable internet service offers in their geographic area
    • Pro’s and con’s of each offer
    • What someone would need to apply for this offer
  • Affordable device offers in their geographic area
    • What they will need to apply for this device offer
  • Access to public wifi in the immediate geographic location
  • Access to quality digital troubleshooting
    • Both paid and public
  • Access to quality digital literacy classes
    • Both paid and public
  • Access to quality online resources for digital literacy and troubleshooting

The parent packet is not supposed to be an end to a family or individual’s road to digital equity, but a way for me to point to what resources already exist in their geographic area. For that reason I can have some New Mexico or Navajo Nation specific information, but each location for each Family Science Night must be different. On that note each individual parent I hand this packet to will want a different specific piece of the information in the packet, the trick is finding out which piece they need, and addressing it specifically in conversation before handing them the packet. Which leads me to the method by which I distribute this packet.

When Explora Science Center puts on programming and engages the community we first seek to establish a relationship, and then to share vital information in small parcels. How this worked in the test runs of our digital inclusion focused “Family Science Nights” has been for me, the facilitator, to play with and engage a child and then her whole family. While engaged in play I begin to ask questions about the families access to the internet to a parent. Often the conversation would go like this:

“She’s pretty good at setting up this logical system, do ya’ll have internet at home? I know of a few websites she can continue to practice these skills.”

If the answer to this question is yes, fantastic. If the answer is no then we have an avenue to pursue a further conversation about what it will take to get a family online, and a strong reason why: the child’s future. With these two pieces in place: a conversational avenue, and an anchor to hold a parent’s interest, I can share a small targeted packet of information, circling options we have already discussed to better connect that family to the digital world.

This packet does not need to be comprehensive, as long as the advocate working with the families has knowledge of the offers and the packet itself serves as a memory aid for the parent then the communication can flow into the community and hopefully take root.

Using this framework I have put together the information for a parent packet I will use on two different outreaches to the same area: Shiprock New Mexico. That information I have linked here: parent packet.

You will notice that one area is still blank labeled “Questionnaire”. ExploraConnect is taking its own advice and will be collecting data using a questionnaire during our outreaches and in a few other capacities, mainly through a potential ExploraConnect landing page. Look forward to a blog post containing details on both.

For my next entry, I will discuss the activities we will be putting on during our ExploraConnect Family Science Nights, and how those activities help facilitate thinking about digital equity.

This parent packet is a work in progress, so do let me know what you think if you have any suggestions. Thanks!