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Digital Inclusion gets a National Alliance!
Technology For All has joined with more than fifty organizations to help launch the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA)
From their website, http://www.digitalinclusionalliance.org/ : “The National Digital Inclusion Alliance is a unified voice for local technology training, home broadband access and public broadband access programs. We work collaboratively to craft, identify and disseminate operational resources for digital inclusion programs while serving as a bridge to policymakers and the general public.
We are leaders of local community organizations, public libraries and other institutions that are working hard to reduce digital disparities among our neighbors. To improve the daily lives of all community members, we call for public policies for digital inclusion that reflect what we’ve learned from experience.
Broadband adoption is most effectively promoted by community-driven efforts that combine:
Affordable home broadband service.
Public broadband access, and
Locally trusted technology training and support”
Will Reed leads Technology For All and says, “We are pleased to join this national effort. It is aligned with our mission to empower communities through the tools of technology, especially those that are low-income and under-served. Technology For All is known for its leadership on these issues across Texas and looks forward to doing its part to assist as we are able at the national level.” (more…)
Check out our new overview video.
Technology For All was recently selected for inclusion in the Giving Library, a groundbreaking initiative that connects donors to nonprofit organizations through online video interviews. In these interviews, our President and CEO, Will Reed, talks about the history, mission, vision and programs of Technology For All. The videos are now available on the Giving Library website for anyone wanting to view more information on our organization.
For an Autistic Child, TFA Class Sparks an Interest
Until now, Adam hadn’t been interested in the computer. The 3rd grader with high functioning autism preferred to walk in patterns around the classroom instead of sitting at his desk.
But on this day, the instructor was having the kids work with game-making software. The software uses a simple interface that lets students develop a basic computer game. The children are learning about technology at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Bastrop County (BGBC) program in Smithville in a partnership with Technology For All (TFA).
The day started out as normal with Adam’s sister, Connie*, taking him gently by the hand and leading him into the classroom. Adam shuffled in the door and stood next to Connie as she sat at the computer, then he paced back and forth behind his sister’s chair as she worked on today’s lesson.
Then something unusual happened. Something on the computer screen caught Adam’s interest and he sat down next to his sister.
“I thought Adam had missed class, because I didn’t see him walking around”, said John Dees, TFA Training Manager who was monitoring the TFA classes. (more…)
Program connects parents to their children’s education
Technology For All, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is partnering with schools in the Houston area to launch a program that encourages student success through parental engagement. Technology For All (TFA) will teach students and their parents how to use online tools which give immediate feedback on student grades and attendance and which allow the parents to communicate with their children’s teachers. Many local school districts provide these tools, but they are under-utilized.
In the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the tool is called Parent-Student Connect. It allows students and parents to monitor grades of homework, tests and overall GPA in a class, and to be alerted when those grades drop below or rise above a specified point. Additionally, the program keeps track of absences and sends notification to parents when a student is marked absent. Parents can also use the Parent-Student Connect tool to send direct messages to teachers when problems arise, and get other information about a student’s grades and attendance record.
TFA adopts a new client survey system
How do you measure mission? In this age of accountability, it’s not enough for a nonprofit organization to just provide services, altruistic as they may be. It’s necessary to demonstrate that the provided services are:
- effective – accomplish the intended goals
- efficient – have a reasonable cost per unit of service
- impactful – improve the lives of clients and the communities in which they live
The mission of Technology For All (TFA) is to provide educational, economic and personal opportunities for low-income, under-served and vulnerable persons through the tools of technology. We do this by providing computer access and training in low-income and under-served communities so that clients can achieve computer competencies that are essential for the new literacy of the 21st Century – competencies that are required for education and employment and for connecting to resources and to the community. So how do we measure our mission?
As of June 2014, we measure it with the aid of a new online client survey and case management system. (more…)
Technology For All’s program specialists are always looking to help new computer users find ways to use technology to improve their life. Tom Swinnea, program specialist at the Bastrop Public Library, recently shared the success story of several of his students. Tom said, “With Technology For All, it is always a pleasure to work with someone creating their first email address. For two Bastrop Public Library patrons, their email lives started last week.”
One older gentleman’s chief need is to communicate more easily with his relatives. He also wanted to share pictures with his extended family, so Tom’s classes taught him email basics, including how to send emails with photo attachments.
Technology For All (TFA) has provided free computer training, under the banner of the Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2) partnership, to rural and underserved communities in Texas since 2009. Since then, thousands of users have attended a number of classes amounting to more than 3 million total hours in training. The training, ranging from basic computer and Internet skills through social media and word processors, helps students to become empowered through computer use.
The TXC2 Public Computer Centers were part of a 9-month study during the 2012-2013 school year by a group of graduate students as part of “Digital Inclusion” — a policy research project at the University of Texas at Austin. The report includes a literature review illuminating how different countries deal with issues of digital literacy and access, as well as original research on the effectiveness of Texas public computer centers, with perspectives of clients, trainers and staff. Read the full report, Public Computing Centers in Texas.
HOUSTON—March 19, 2013— IDG’s Computerworld Honors Program today announces Technology For All as a 2013 Laureate. The annual award program honors visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.
“Technology continues to play a pivotal role in transforming how business and society functions. For the past 25 years the Computerworld Honors Program has had the privilege of celebrating innovative IT achievements,” said John Amato, vice president & publisher, Computerworld. “Computerworld is honored to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the 2013 class of Laureates and to share their work. These projects demonstrate how IT can advance organizations’ ability to compete, innovate, communicate and prosper.”
“Our organization is honored to be recognized as a 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureate”, said Dr. Will Reed, President and CEO of Technology For All. “This is a tribute to our staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to create opportunities for low-income and underserved persons so that they can fully participate in today’s digital world — opportunities that many of us take for granted.”