Announcing the April Connect Chicago Meetup: Digital Inclusion Asset Mapping

At the next Connect Chicago Meetup we will break into working groups to co-build a better shared inventory of public digital inclusion resources and assets. Unlike other Meetups, there will be no featured speaker. Instead, the focus will be on networking, problem solving, and group collaboration, much like what’s been done in our Connect Chicago working groups

Event: Digital Inclusion Asset Mapping

Where: The Chicago Community Trust

When: Friday, April 28th from 11am to 1pm

RSVP at this link.

Connent Chicago members are invited to join one of three breakout working groups to map out:

  • WiFi & public computing resources — This group will strategize ways to improve + expand + evangelize information about free place-based resources for digital inclusion. Here is an existing inventory to build on. 
  • Local Digital Inclusion Programs — This group will brainstorm all of the great work they know of in our network. They can strategize which types of partners should get more involved in local digital inclusion work & partnerships. One potential starting place can be this existing inventory.
  • Training Resources — This group will compile free online curriculum and digital learning platforms to be shared widely with Chicago’s digital inclusion community. They can build on and identify gaps in this existing collection.

Come join the conversation and co-build digital inclusion content to help fuel an equitable tech ecosystem in Chicago. Meet and network with computer trainers, nonprofit professionals, technologists, community advocates, and fellow residents who care about digital inclusion in Chicago. Please RSVP so we can get an accurate count for lunch. Thank you!

The Connect Chicago Meetup is a monthly gathering of computer trainers, nonprofit professionals, and fellow residents who care about the digital lives of Chicagoans. In 2017, Meetups will be held downtown and some events (called Community Technology Forums) will be held at community learning & nonprofit sites across the city. Email me with any questions, concerns or ideas for future Connect Chicago Meetups: dlinn@cct.org

Announcing the May 20th Community Technology Forum at Windsor Park Evangelical Lutheran Church

The second Community Technology Forum, an event hosted in partnership with the Windsor Park Lutheran Evangelical Church, Leave No Veteran Behind, Cambium Networks, DePaul University, and Connect Chicago, will be on Saturday, May 20th. Our local partners for this event have previously collaborated to set up a community wireless network based out of Windsor Park Lutheran Evangelical Church.

Event: Community Technology Forum hosted at the Windsor Park Evangelical Lutheran Church

Date: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Time: 1pm — 4pm

Location: 2619 E 76th St.

Lunch will be served.

The Community Technology Forums are participatory design sessions aimed at understanding hyperlocal digital equity ideas, assets, and needs. Hosted in partnership with nonprofits and community anchor institutions in Chicago’s neighborhoods, these sessions will give residents an opportunity to articulate a vision for technology in their community. The forums will be facilitated by Professor Sheena Erete, Jessa Dickinson, and other community design experts at DePaul University.

For all interested in spreading the word and putting this event information on emails and websites (please do!), copy and share the write-up below:

You’re Invited to a Community Technology Forum at the Windsor Park Lutheran Church!

When: Saturday, May 20, 2017 from 1pm – 4pm

Where: 2619 E 76th St.

What: Join community members and local advocates for a civic conversation about the technology in South Shore. What do you love about your community and what is working well? ¿Qué te gusta de tu comunidad? What technology resources do you use a lot and appreciate? ¿Qué recursos tecnológicos utiliza mucho y aprecia? You’re invited to share your ideas and help design solutions that leverage what works to improve what doesn’t. This Community Technology Forum is hosted at the Windsor Park Lutheran Church in partnership with DePaul University, the Smart Chicago Collaborative & Connect Chicago. Lunch & refreshments will be provided! Sign up for more information and RSVP at bit.ly/chitechforum2.

Here is the flyer for this meeting:

If you are interested in attending the May 20th Community Technology Forum in South Shore or would like to receive more information, please fill out this form also embedded below:

 

Fill out my online form.

Announcing the April 22nd Community Technology Forum at Greater Southwest Development Corporation

The first Community Technology Forum, an event hosted in partnership with the Greater Southwest Development Corporation (GSDC), DePaul University, and Connect Chicago, will be on Saturday, April 22nd. GSDC, our local partner for this event, produces the Tech Thursdays workshop series and has been a featured speaker at Connect Chicago Meetups.

Event: Community Technology Forum hosted at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation

Date: Saturday, April 22, 2017

Time: 10am — 1pm

Location: 2601 W 63rd St.

A light breakfast will be served at the beginning of the event and lunch will be served toward the end of the event.

The Community Technology Forums are participatory design sessions aimed at understanding hyperlocal digital equity ideas, assets, and needs. Hosted in partnership with nonprofits and community anchor institutions in Chicago’s neighborhoods, these sessions will give residents an opportunity to articulate a vision for technology in their community. The forums will be facilitated by Professor Sheena Erete, Jessa Dickinson, and other community design experts at DePaul University.

Spread the word!

For all interested in spreading the word and putting this event information on emails and websites (please do!), copy and share the write-up below:

You’re Invited to a Community Technology Forum at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation!

When: Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 10am – 1pm

Where: 2601 W 63rd St.

What: Join community members and local advocates for a civic conversation about the technology in your neighborhood. What do you love about your community and what is working well? ¿Qué te gusta de tu comunidad? What technology resources do you use a lot and appreciate? ¿Qué recursos tecnológicos utiliza mucho y aprecia? You’re invited to share your ideas and help design solutions that leverage what works to improve what doesn’t. This Community Technology Forum is hosted at the Greater Southwest Development Corporation in partnership with DePaul University, the Smart Chicago Collaborative & Connect Chicago. Breakfast & lunch will be provided! Sign up for more information and RSVP at bit.ly/chitechforum1.

Here is the flyer for this meeting:

If you are interested in attending the April 22nd Community Technology Forum or would like to receive more information, please fill out this form also embedded below:
Fill out my online form.

Community Technology Forums: Objectives & Model

In partnership with DePaul University and various Connect Chicago Meetup partners, Connect Chicago will be engaging directly with residents through Community Technology Forums.

The Community Technology Forums are participatory design sessions aimed at understanding hyperlocal digital equity needs, assets, and ideas. Hosted in partnership with nonprofits and community anchor institutions in Chicago’s neighborhoods, these sessions will give residents an opportunity to articulate a vision for technology in their community. We hope the ideas and needs identified by residents in these sessions inform future work and community investments.

Community Technology Forum Objectives

There are several objectives to these Forums:

  • Understand what residents see as the main challenges or gaps for their community/neighborhood when it comes to technology, Internet access, and training
  • Discover in what ways, both big and small, people would like to see technology improve their daily lives and the quality of life in their communities
  • Find out how people have participated in conversations about technology in their communities in the past, and how they would like to in the future

About the Community Technology Forums

The forums will look like a guided community brainstorming meetings. They will be facilitated by Professor Sheena Erete, Jessa Dickinson, and other community design experts at DePaul University. The Forums will include introductions/icebreakers and about 2-3 interactive group activities for attendees. We will release session schedules for each Forum.

The Forums will amplify hyperlocal opinions and ideas about technology. We recognize that there are many nonprofit and anchor institutions already leading the way in community technology resources and training. Their work is featured at Connect Chicago Meetups and the whole ecosystem benefits from their lessons. By partnering with these institutions as hosts, we hope to not only shine a light on their leadership, but also utilize their position in the community to recruit residents and capture local perspectives.

The Forums will be welcoming & inclusive. All will be welcome at these events, including walk-in participants. Food will be provided and we will schedule the timing of the event in consultation with our nonprofit or community anchor institution host who knows best about the scheduling preferences of their patrons and their community.

The Forums will be well documented. The messages and lessons from each Community Technology Forum will be synthesized and circulated after the events. As with other Smart Chicago engagement events, the work will be shared broadly. We will also be open about meta lessons — what went well, what could be improved, etc. —  for others interested in adapting the work.

Check back on the Smart Chicago blog as Community Technology Forum events are announced. If you are interested in getting involved, volunteering, or hosting a Community Technology Forum later in 2016, please email Program Analyst Denise Linn at dlinn@cct.org.

Women in Tech Speakers Series

Co-authored by Kyla Williams and Derek Eder

Smart Chicago Collaborative and Chi Hack Night have teamed up to create a speaking series in celebration of Women’s History Month in an effort to elevate the talented, diverse women in civic-driven technology across Chicago.

Too often in the tech space we hear about what people do or what product they have made and less about their personal narratives. In this series, we encourage our speakers to share their stories as a transformative learning and inspirational opportunity.

Additionally, we acknowledge the lack of diversity in the civic tech community and believe that becoming more community-based with easier opportunities for engagement and gaining experience will spurn interest in the field and potentially serve as an economic solution to fill technology vacancies in Chicago.

This partnership is especially timely considering Smart Chicago is currently an all women team fighting the good fight on behalf of civic technology and engagement and Chi Hack Night has set a priority area of focus on diversifying its thriving developer community.

The Women in Tech Speakers Series will coincide with the four weekly Chi Hack Night events that occur on Tuesdays at Braintree in Merchandise Mart for the month of March.

Additionally, two community events will be held on Wednesday, March 29th in Homan Square and Thursday March 30th at the DuSable Museum.

It’s important to ensure we are not just highlighting women in technology and their respective stories, but also their roles within the field. Further, if we are going to influence a paradigm shift and draw more interest into the field, demystifying roles and types of opportunities is necessary. We are hopeful that we will be able to continue this partnership and related activities on an ongoing basis, as this is important work.

Event #1 – March 7th, 6pm

The Speaker Series kicks off tonight March 7th with special guest Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP – sold out!

Event #2 – March 14th, 6pm

Next week will feature Sandee Kastrul, president and co-founder of i.c.stars, an innovative nonprofit leadership and technology training program founded in 1999 to prepare inner-city adults for technology careers and community leadership.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz,8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #3 – March 21st, 6pm

Our third event will feature Melissa Pierce, Director of “Born with Curiosity: The Story of Grace Murray Hopper”, an independent documentary about Grace Hopper, who in 1944, was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and invented the first compiler for a computer programming language.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz,8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #4 – March 28th

On Tuesday, March 28th, we will welcome Robin Robinson, a longtime Chicago television news anchor turned special advisor on community affairs for the Chicago Police Department. In her talk, Robin will discuss the role she has taken on and the work needed to rebuild trust between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it serves. We also welcome the Chicago Federation for Women as they share their Talk It Out initiative, a weeklong conversation series designed to spark understanding about gender bias and the ways it affects women and men.

Braintree
222 W Merchandise Mart Plz, 8th Floor
Chicago, IL 60654

RSVP

Event #5 – Creators & Founders: Women in Civic Tech

Wednesday, March 29th we will welcome a panel of creators and founders, with speakers Allyson Scrutchens of Forward Planning and Dima Elissa of VisMed-3D.              

Homan Square Community Center
3517 W. Arthington Street
Chicago, IL 60624

RSVP

Event #6 – Amplifiers of Community Voice: Women in Civic Tech

Thursday March 30th  we will welcome a panel of amplifiers of community voice with speakers Andrea Hart of City Bureau, Aviva Rosman of Ballot Ready, and Tiana Epps-Johnson of Center for Tech and Civic Life.

DuSable Museum-Auditorium
740 East 56th Place
Chicago, IL 60637

RSVP

We hope you’ll join us in celebrating Women’s History Month and Chicago’s unique and amazing civic technology community. Here’s to Women’s History Month and fruitful partnerships!

 

Announcing the February Connect Chicago Meetup: Business Skills Meet Digital Skills

At the next Connect Chicago Meetup, we’ll be exploring cases in blending business and entrepreneurial skill development with digital skills instruction. We’ll be highlighting programming from Greater Southwest Development Corporation as well as Alliance Labs.

Event: Connect Chicago Meetup

Date: Friday, February 24, 2017

Time: 11am – 1pm

Place: Chicago Community Trust — 225 N Michigan Ave.

The Greater Southwest Development Corporation produces the TECH THURSDAYS Chicago workshop series with a collection of local partners. Participation in TECH THURSDAYS Chicago is free to Chicagoland business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, nonprofit organizations and their management teams. According to their website:

Following the September 2016 conference, TECH THURSDAYS 2016 continues with weekly and monthly business technology training sessions held in participating communities across the city through August 2017. Information regarding business development activities and opportunities is distributed to our members via email and available to the general public through our blog, Forum, MeetUp and LinkedIn Group.

You can read about our second guest, Alliance Labs, in this recent Built In Chicago article. They’ve adopted an apprenticeship model to mentor young people in digital communications. According to their website:

The school at The Alliance Labs is committed to creating opportunities for Chicago’s dedicated and talented youth who have overcome adversity and aspire to greatness and leadership through careers in technology. These future workers are given real-world employable skills that are practiced, challenged and perfected through the work our digital agency does for our valued clients.

Come meet and network with computer trainers, nonprofit professionals,  technologists, community advocates, and fellow residents who care about digital access & skills in Chicago. Please RSVP so we can get an accurate count for lunch. Thank you!

Here’s more information about these programs:

Special Speakers at this Meetup include:

  • Tina James of the Greater Southwest Development Corporation
  • Andrew Hicks and Jon Schickedanz from The Alliance Labs

The Connect Chicago Meetup is a monthly gathering of computer trainers, nonprofit professionals, and fellow residents who care about the digital lives of Chicagoans. In 2017, some will be held downtown and some will be held at community learning & nonprofit sites across the city. Email Denise Linn, Program Analyst at Smart Chicago, with any questions, concerns or ideas for future Meetups: dlinn@cct.org