Erin Simpson: Assessing the Use & Impact of Public Computing Centers in Chicago

At our last Connect Chicago Meetup, Erin Simpson presented about her study on public computing center use in Chicago. Simpson is a Public Policy Student at the University of Chicago & Civic Tech Fellow at Microsoft, and stopped by to talk about her research of Connect Chicago locations, occurring over the next two months.

Erin Simpson presents at Connect Chicago

Erin Simpson presents at Connect Chicago

Simpson’s goal is to create a base of knowledge for future research in this area. The final report will be a thirty to fifty page thesis. Public computing centers are funded and run by several different organizations each with their own goals . The study aims to see what goals have been accomplished since Chicago first set out to close the digital divide.

The study will also try to learn more about digital-physical interaction in communities.

The study will be on current research being done about the digital divide in Chicago. As Simpson points out, the main predictor of somebody not having broadband internet at home is their socioeconomic status.

Simpson will try to survey at least 250 people who use public computing centers. The survey will be available in both English and Spanish and will offer three cash prizes to participants as a way to encourage people to take the survey.

Simpson is also wanting to hear stories from community organizations that run public computing centers in order to get their stories.

You can listen to the entire presentation here:

You can find our more information about the Connect Chicago here.