I N S I D E
Why Tech Matters
Erin Devoto is the Seattle Department of Information Technology's new Deputy Director. Erin came from the Parks Department, where she oversaw the major capital projects division. She helped implement both the $36 million Community Centers Levy (CCLP) and the $192 million Pro Parks Levy. During her six and a half years with Parks, Erin oversaw the completion of eight of the nine CCLP projects, and 103 Pro Parks Levy funded acquisition and development projects, completing almost all these projects within budget and on time. This included the major remodel of the Seattle Aquarium. As Deputy Director of DoIT, Erin now oversees development of our Project Management Office (PMO), our internal portfolio of projects, and our significant strategic initiatives, including broadband.
Erin has these three tips for successful project management:
- Always have a contingency plan;
- Know what needs to be done in advance;
- Hold the team accountable.
RecTech Site Lead
The RecTech Site Lead will help lead, plan, coordinate, implement and evaluate the RecTech Program at the South Park Community Technology Center. View the full job posting. Contact Christian Ver for more information.
Be a part of Community Technology Days in Olympia this November. The doors will be opened to speak with legislators and state agency staff about the importance of supporting community technology. For more information contact Megan Oczkewicz at Stone Soup.
Learn more about Communities Connect Network.
The Seattle Channel now offers a variety of Audio Podcasts. Listen to your favorite shows like Book Lust and Seattle Voices. Check out what's available.
The Greater Seattle Datasheet, which presents demographic information about the City of Seattle and its surrounding region, is now available in Russian. Check it out here.
Communities Connect Network offers these upcoming free trainings:
Message Development Workshop
When: September 12, 10:00 a.m.
A workshop on developing key messages to improve your communications and fundraising.
Outcomes Evaluation Workshop
When: September 19,9:00 a.m.
A workshop on making strategic use of data in your reporting and internal program evaluations.
Web Conferencing Webinar
When: September 26, 10:00 a.m. and November 15, 10:00 a.m.
An online workshop on selecting and using web conferencing tools for hosting online trainings and meetings.
Message Development Webinar
When: October 2, 10:00 a.m.
The web conference version of the workshop on developing key messages to improve your communications and fundraising.
Outcomes Evaluation Webinar
When: October 3, 10:00 a.m.
The web conference version of the workshop on making strategic use of data in your reporting and internal program evaluations.
No Cost! Register here.
Don't miss Ask the Mayor on the Seattle Channel. It's a Q&A show featuring host C.R. Douglas and callers in local issues discussion with Mayor Greg Nickels. Next taping is September 11, 7:00 p.m. Email your questions in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free cable broadband Internet service is available for organizations providing technology training to community members. The free service is offered in the Comcast service delivery area and within the Seattle city limits, based on the City’s cable franchise agreement. For more information and to download a short form to make application, go to our tech web. If you have questions, email Derrick Hall or call (206) 233-5061.
To subscribe or unsubscribe to Brainstorm, please email us, and we'll add you to our email notification list, or subtract you per your request. If you have ideas for future stories, please let us know and we'll try to accommodate them. We encourage you to visit the City of Seattle's Community Tech pages, seattle.gov/tech.
CITY OF SEATTLE
Greg Nickels, Mayor
acting director, office of
D.H. CASS MAGNUSKI
Students listen and learn with new audio technology.
A new program from Literacy Source, Reading Tools For Life (RTFL), uses innovative technology to improve the reading comprehension and fluency of adult learners. English as a Second Language students and Adult Basic Education students practice their reading skills by listening to audio files of written material, while reading along silently with a hard copy of the material. The audio files, which are recorded by volunteers using a microphone and shareware computer program called Audacity, are imported to iTunes where they are categorized by level in accessible playlists. The audio recordings provide learners with a model of clear and fluent reading. Students listen to audio files while reading along silently with the corresponding book, newspaper, or resource, until they feel comfortable with the material. The students then read aloud what they have listened to, and the tutor provides individualized feedback and assistance.
Using a computer in this way has additional benefits. Often when a student is reading with a tutor, the pair will pause to gain additional information on the Internet-ready computer directly in front of them. Whether looking up a word, map, photograph, or background information to supplement the material they are reading, students enjoy having the ability to move seamlessly between a book and computer. As one student explains, “I’m not a computer person, I’m a real book person, but now I can use--or the instructors can help me use--the computer’s Thesaurus and dictionary. There are resources at your fingertips.” By engaging learners in an independent, yet interactive, method of improving their literacy skills, the class is able to help adult learners who have struggled with more traditional methods of learning to read.
The program has achieved many successes. Since it began in 2007, students have made gains on their standardized reading assessments and listening assessments. Students have also indicated that they have greater confidence in their reading ability. This confidence has enabled students to view reading as a positive experience and has given them the ability to build fluency with basic reading primers and progress to more challenging material. An Adult Basic Education student enrolled in RTFL explained, “I love the learning opportunities--being able to hear a word you can’t pronounce is amazing. The program builds vocabulary and really, it builds self esteem”.
This program was funded by the Neighborhood Matching Fund. For more information, contact Tasha Marsden.
helping link teaches seattle
parents to use 'the source'
Helping Link student uses The Source.
This fall, Helping Link will assist Vietnamese parents stay on top of their children’s education. The Seattle Public School District currently uses an online system called The Source. The system allows parents to view their children's grades, attendance, test scores, and homework online, keeping them aware of their students' academic progress. By allowing teachers to communicate with parents frequently and provide access to each student's academic information, The Source is an invaluable resource for those who know how to use it.
This system, however, can be a challenge for parents who have limited language and computer skills. To address this need, Helping Link will be launching a class under the Vietnamese Parent Involvement Project to teach parents how to use this tool. Training materials are translated into Vietnamese. Classes will be taught by students who have been trained to teach parents the many different functions of The Source. By giving youths the opportunity to help educate their elders, this program will help to create a stronger bond between the age groups by allowing parents to see what it is like to be a student and for students to have the opportunity to see what it is like to be a teacher. In teaching classes this way, Helping Link will help to build intergenerational empathy.
These classes will also benefit parents by helping to improve their English language and technology skills in a practical setting. The hope is that over the 12 years of their student's education, Vietnamese parents will continuously use technology that is similar to what is used in today’s workplace.
Helping Link's classes on The Source are made possible by contributions from United Way of King County and the City of Seattle's Technology Matching Fund.
For more information about Helping Link, please call (206) 781-4246, or email them, or visit their web site.
The Children's Partnership released a new video, "Community Technology Delivers Opportunities to Youth," produced in partnership with youth from the Bresee Foundation. In the video, real folks share how technology has helped them improve their health, education, job preparation and civic participation. Check it out here.
Back to School: Free Homework Help Resource Center is now offered by The Beehive. The homework help resource center contains a wealth of K-12 educational resources for parents and students in reading, writing, math, science and more, in both English and Spanish, all at no cost to the consumer.
Incorporated into the popular bi-lingual website, the free homework help resource center is divided into four distinctly different sections, each with graphically and educationally appropriate content for their intended audiences: elementary school students, middle school students, high school students, and parents. The Beehive offers free homework help on everything from reading to math, social studies, art, music, and even foreign languages.
In addition to homework help, the site provides advice to parents on how to motivate children: by showing them you care through participating in their education from the elementary school level right through middle school to high school.
beware of internet content
Just when you thought you had email security figured out, the Bad Guys have changed tactics. Various types of malware are being deployed onto your computer simply for having visited an Internet site. A recent study performed by Google with about 450,000 web pages showed that just about 10 percent were found to be attempting some type of attack. The email security company, Sophos, has identified that the greatest threat is no longer email attachment attacks. It's now web content.
Poorly protected web sites are being compromised and having their pages turned into attack engines, so that visitors to the site who have un-patched computers are turned into nodes of a remotely-controllable "botnet." That's right, if you don't patch your computer, visiting a web site may turn your system into a SPAM delivery engine, or worse. Bad Guys are also paying for "banner ads" that are infected with attack scripting, so that visiting a legitimate site that happens to display ads will also attempt to compromise your system. Further, user-supplied content, i.e., web pages or URLs listed on blogs, social networking sites like MySpace, etc., are also abused in this way.
How do you protect your computer and information?
- Keep your computer updated with patches. Use the Automatic Updates setting.
- Avoid questionable web sites
- Use anti-virus software (McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro, etc.) and keep it updated
- Periodically scan your system with a spyware-sweeper such as Webroot Spysweep
voice over ip explained
Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as VOIP, is a voice communication tool that allows you to use your Internet connection to make phone calls. This type of communication has been around since the 1970s, but has taken on more shape and popularity in the past few years.
VOIP uses your computer, or you can purchase an “analog telephone adapter” to connect your personal phone to use this type of service. Your call is converted to a digital signal and passed through the Internet to the receiving computer or analog telephone adapter. Most users are now getting service that has access to a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), so they have the ability to make and receive phone calls.
The best feature of VOIP is that you can use the service almost anywhere you have broadband Internet access, crossing the international boarders with no or little cost.
One thing to remember if you sign up for VOIP is to register for 911 services. This will insure that a 911 operator will recognize your location, if you call in an emergency from your VOIP phone.
Race Relations and Social Justice Fund
Deadline: October 1
Funds grassroots opportunities for diverse communities to interact, encourage mutual understanding and respect, celebrate uniqueness, openly address issues of racial and social inequity, and help improve the quality of life for all City residents.
Neighborhood Climate Protection Fund
Deadline: October 1
Funds opportunities for neighbors to connect and collaborate on community-driven approaches to addressing climate change.
Free consulting to increase website visibility
Grassroots.org offers free two-hour telephone consulting sessions on search engine optimization for nonprofits. Sign up online.
How Stuff Works Go to the head of the class when you use this site. As its name implies, this site aims to tell you how stuff works--such as your computer, the Internet, peripherals, and more.
Math-help websites for students from kindergarten to 12th grade were featured in a recent Seattle PI article.
Back issues of Brainstorm including techtips and linkage are now available in our online archives. Previous TechTips and Linkage are also available. Click to revisit all previous issues.