Today, I am actually very excited to write my final blog post as a NDIA Corps Member on one of the Alutiiq Online Chromebooks from the Ouzinkie Tribal Media Center. I left my computer charger in Kodiak. With a dead computer, I am able to write and work from the village library. I can say that I have now personally benefited from the availability and utility of these laptops. The Alutiiq Online program of providing public use laptops to libraries in the rural villages. greatly expands the reach of digital access available from the libraries.
In Ouzinkie, Alaska Communications (ACS) provides a DSL internet service that is low cost and relatively fast for village standards. I measured 2.66 Mbps download speed at the library. The Ouzinkie Tribal Media Center allows public access to the library’s Wi-Fi signal but with the Alutiiq Online Chromebooks, access can be provided beyond the library. In the village, people that may not have access to a computer any other way and will now be able to check out a laptop from the library to work on school projects, write resumes, apply for hunting and fishing licenses all from their homes in the village.
In a meeting with the Tribal Administrator and the Tribal Librarian, we discussed how they could provide digital education training courses for people in the village. With the online resources training can easily be accessed and taught to people new to the digital world the library staff can easily provide training. The Ouzinkie Tribal Council greatly values digital literacy and their full-time librarian often helps community members with their computer skills. The Alutiiq Online Chromebooks will not only expand the reach of the library’s digital inclusion efforts they will they will spread the awareness of their utility and the need for digital inclusion in our rural villages.
Shortly after I wrote this blog post, a village elder came into the media center and asked for help with a website. I sat down with Nick and looked at his problem. Nick had been preyed on by an online phishing scheme. We did a search and checked the website on the Better Business Bureau and found out it was a scam. I explained to Nick and the librarian that online security is very important and could be conducted as a training for the community. The Ouzinkie Tribal Media center has done a fantastic job of creating a safe place for the community to access the Internet ask questions and learn but, from what I have learned in a year working to improve digital inclusion the work is never done. I am very happy that our community of the Kodiak Archipelago are taking on the challenge and working every day to expand the possibilities for our communities.