Community Call: NTEN’s Digital Inclusion Fellowship Q&A

The Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) has just announced that applications are open for their 4th Cohort of the National Digital Inclusion Fellowship. For this round, 2 positions are available in Chicago, supported by Capital One. Since many of our Connect Chicago trainers and nonprofit staff will be eligible to apply for this opportunity,we wanted to elevate it!

What: Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF) Cohort 4 Community Call

When: Tuesday, November 7, 2017 1pm central / 11am pacific

Register: Please visit this NTEN website to RSVP and receive call-in information. 

Why apply for the NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellowship? You’ll have access to NTEN resources to help you craft or improve new, needed digital access and skill-building programming for your organization. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to travel, participate in monthly online trainings, learn from fellow cohort members’ work across the country, and receive 1-on-1 support from NTEN staff. Your work will also be of value to the whole Connect Chicago community — your methods, new materials, and lessons learned will bring value to our whole community of practice. We look forward to seeing the progress your leadership brings and potentially showcasing your work through our Meetups and newsletters!

Note that the call is free and you don’t have to be an NTEN member to attend, but you do have to sign up in advance! To sign up, visit this page. 

On a personal note, I’m so pleased to see this opportunity come to the Chicago ecosystem which is rich with creative, passionate tech trainers and advocates from many mission-drive organizations. I’ve had the opportunity to support, advise, and collaborate with previous Digital Inclusion Fellows, so it’s wonderful to see the work spread to new cities!

About the Digital Inclusion Fellowship (DIF)

The Fellowship program supports local non profit leaders in creating and building the most effective programs that best serve their communities. With the support of their organization and supervisors, non profit staff participate in a year of learning, sharing, and developing their digital literacy programs.

Fellows in this year-long professional development cohort will develop digital literacy programs specifically suited to serve their communities. These programs may help:

• parents access online school portals job seekers achieve certifications develop, resumes, and search for jobs

• seniors use tablets to communicate with family

• residents access government information and programs

• entrepreneurs start or expand an online business

• participants acquire devices

The Fellow, Fellow’s regular employer, and NTEN staff will craft a set of tangible goals including the number of individuals served, instruction time, and volunteers trained.

You can apply for the Fellowship online HERENote that prospective fellows and their supervisors are expected to submit material, too!

Kyla Williams Co-Presents Today at Philanthropy Ohio’s Annual Conference

Today, Leon Wilson, CIO of the Cleveland Foundation, and I will co-present at the Philanthropy Ohio’s annual conference with a theme this year of “Philanthropy Forward” and a concentrated discussion on Digital Civic Engagement & Community-Centered Design. Philanthropy Forward ’17 is set to inform practices, strategies and goals and connect peers in the field of philanthropy. The conference will also focus on the future of philanthropy with insight into the current state of the sector – fueled by recent research – addressing transitions, change and the leadership pipeline. With several networking and roundtable discussions, attendees will discover how to shift failures to successes, effectively fund advocacy and civic engagement and hear from  exceptional leaders across the state and country.

Leon and I also presented in April 2017 at the Council on Foundations Annual Conference “Leading Together” as part of a panel discussion with: Aaron Deacon, Managing Director, Kansas City Digital Drive; Elizabeth Reynoso, Assistant Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities; and Lilly Weinberg, Program Director/Community Foundations, John S. & James L. Knight Foundation on “Supporting Civic Engagement through Technology and Community-Centered Design”. After finishing that presentation we decided more collaborative sharing between cities was necessary and lead to this opportunity at Philanthropy Ohio.

Community building in the digital era requires providing a space for the public sector and local communities to interact. Building solutions with peoplenot just for them – by using community-centered design can have profound social impact. This has been central to Smart Chicago’s work and has lead to the building of processes, products, services, and other lightweight tech solutions that have been helpful.

Our presentation today has the learning objectives:

  • To introduce different models developed in communities to address civic engagement digitally
  • To encourage the consideration of embedding support for digital civic engagement into existing grantmaking & advancement efforts

You can follow the happenings of the conference on Twitter @PhilanthropyOH and @SmartChgoKyla or by using the hashtag #PhilFWD17.

SMART CHICAGO IS MOVING!!!

Good News!!! The Smart Chicago team is moving and now will be co-located with the City Digital Team at UI Labs. As such, our individual emails will be changing to:

Kyla Williams           kyla.williams@uilabs.org

Sonja Marziano       sonja.marziano@uilabs.org

Denise Linn               denise.riedl@uilabs.org

Leslie Durr                 leslie.durr@uilabs.org

Our new mailing address is 1415 N. Cherry Avenue Chicago, IL 60642 and general phone number is 312.281.6900.

Please check our website at www.smartchicagocollaborative.org or follow us on twitter @smartchicago for more updates.

We appreciate your patience during this time of transition.

On the Table 2017: Digital Equity in Education

Over the past three years, thousands of Chicago-area residents have participated in mealtime conversations about how to improve our community through The Chicago Community Trust’s On The Table initiative. Since the launch of On the Table, participants have indicated that equity and social inclusion were among the most frequent topics of discussion at the events they attended.

So, this year, organizers suggest that equity be part of these conversations. Because equity is at the heart of our collective work, The Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning, The Hive Chicago Learning Network, and the Smart Chicago Collaborative invite you to join us in hosting a “multi-table” event focusing on Digital Equity in Education.

Youth Digital Equity is the social-justice goal of ensuring that all young people have equal access and opportunities to use technology tools, computers and the Internet as well as the knowledge and skills to use them effectively.

Our aim is to bring new and different voices to the table, while making this as easy as possible for you. We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event.

Details

When: 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16

Where: Northeastern Center for College Access and Success (CCAS) – 770 North Halsted, Suite 420, Chicago IL 60642. Please find out more information about CCAS here: http://centerforcollegeaccessandsuccess.org/

RSVP at this link.

Host a table!

Interested in hosting a table at this event? We are hoping to organize at least five tables at our Digital Equity in Education On the Table event. If your organization would like to register to recruit and host a table for the event, we welcome you! Hosting a table is easy as 1-2-3.  All you need to do is:

1.) Sign up as a host here: Register to Host

2.) Invite up to nine guests to join your table and let us know who they are. Invite youth.  Invite teachers.  Invite colleagues who aren’t part of Hive or the connected learning community.  Invite friends.

3.) Facilitate your table’s conversation about achieving equity in the digital age.  We’ll take care of the logistics, including the venue, food, and other preparations.

We will provide more detail to table hosts, once you’ve registered. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Youth-Led Tech 2016 Innovations

 Youth-Led Tech 2016 is in the books, however the work that was done in partnership with the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center  (JTDC) and Nancy B. Jefferson School is still resonating. This being my first year with Smart Chicago and performing in my role as Youth-Led Tech Project Coordinator was everything I thought it would be; innovating, engaging, inspiring and fulfilling. We undertook a groundbreaking opportunity working with 50 youth students at JTDC. Over the course of several months and numerous meetings, Smart Chicago received the nod to present Youth-Led Tech at JTDC, and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) granted approval for the Youth-Led Tech program to provide the .5 credits high school students needed towards their graduation requirement. JTDC residents without a high school diploma or GED are required to attend school during their stay.

Access and Skills

The JTDC program presented unique challenges due to the high security levels in the facility. These challenges were overcome with the development of a modulated curriculum on a closed platform which allowed the JTDC students to experience the technology training and develop their websites in a nearly identical format as the community students. The six week curriculum was modified to three weeks for this pilot to meet the specific needs of this population. During each of the three week sessions we served two cohorts of students.

Students who successfully completed the program were awarded certificates of completion at a graduation held in their honor where they presented their websites to proud family members, friends, JTDC staff members, and teachers. Similar to the community program youth were also provided with an earned learning incentive of keeping the laptop used during the program. Students completing the Youth-Led Tech program and are released on or before 12/31/2016, can contact Smart Chicago to retrieve the laptop and be formally connected to other programming as a recidivism prevention opportunity.

“Smart Chicago is committed to providing ongoing opportunities to support and connect our youth to services that will provide increase access to resources, especially those that touch tech in an effort to sustain and improve the quality of their lives. JTDC students, although currently involved in the juvenile justice, are bright, innovative, and full of potential. The Youth-Led Tech JTDC program pilot proved that if challenged to learn, make better decisions, increased access to technology and tools, and inspiring hope through redemptive opportunities, many of these youth have the ability to be positively contributing community members. We all should want that.” Kyla Williams, Interim Executive Director, Smart Chicago Collaborative

Creative Career Day

Along with the intensive technology training the students at JTDC/NBJ also participated in the 7th Annual Creative Career Day event. This event is a one day opportunity for the students to interact with the Arts and Culture community to visualize employment opportunities in those sectors. This year the event was expanded to include traditional and non-traditional business and tech occupations. Students had the privilege to hear from over 19 organizations and and interact with nearly 40 professionals.

The impact of both programs can be seen in the comments from the presenters as well as the students:

“…thanks so much for this wonderful opportunity to reach out to youth.  It is an important event and I look forward to next year.”  Dr. Lorri Glass, Governor’s State University

“I truly appreciate the opportunities this summer with your programs, they definitely made an impact on my life and I was honored. David Wilkins, RallyCap

“It was the best one ever!” “I could see myself doing that.” “The people had real stories about their life.” Student Comment

Statements like these are part of the reasons why Smart Chicago strives to innovate around solutions and make data driven decisions. Due to the noted success of the program, JTDC administration has requested programming for the Fall 2016/Winter 2017. Youth-Led Tech staff are currently working on a proposal to support meeting that request. 

Teamwork, Makes the Dream Work!

Smart Chicago Thanks the Youth-Led Tech Instructors

Successful implementation of any program or project takes a huge amount of effort, energy and commitment. The success of the 2016 Youth-Led Tech program had plenty of each from the 40 carefully selected Lead Instructors, Assistant Instructors and Floaters. The Youth-Led Tech curriculum is carefully crafted to teach technology in the context of the needs and priorities of young people. The curriculum is a step-by-step daily guide to ensure the integrity of the model, but also allows for the exchange of ideas from both the students and the instructors.

The instructors who were selected for Youth-Led tech 2016 represented a variety of educational and professional experience and backgrounds including film production, mentoring, college professors and of course technology! This year’s iteration was revised and edited by Dr. Phyllis West, Ph.D to include modules on Workforce Development, which introduced students to the fundamentals of career planning, helped identify their interests and learn the trends of the fastest growing careers in America, including entrepreneurship.

entrepreneurship-photo

Black Enterprise Magazine cited Youth-Led Tech as a “summer program (that) puts kids on a positive trajectory.”

Here’s a look at the 2016 Youth-Led Tech instructors.