Year 2000 was very productive for the ConnectDC2000 project. After developing the project's design, goals & objectives, elements and expected outcomes and measurements, we engaged in active fundraising activities with significant support from the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
During the spring months, while continuing fundraising activities, we successfully recruited youth participants for our Summer Multi-Media Technology Training Program from area high schools. Youth applicants were required to apply online at the ConnectDC2000 web site. After selecting summer workshop coordinators, we reviewed and made necessary changes to our training curriculum and acquired video and sound recording equipment and supplies. Early June we held a project press conference with Mayor Williams at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization's headquarters in Northeast DC.
When summer began in mid-June, Southeastern University President, Charlene Drew Jarvis, donated us the use of a networked, 30 computers, training facility for our Summer Multi-Media Technology Training Program for a six-week period. The final two weeks training took place at the Carnegie Library in a space donated to us by Barbara Franco, president of the Historical Society of Washington, DC. We administered a summer employment project for twenty-four, in school, youth between 14 and 19 years.
Our Summer Multi-Media Technology Training Program provided youth participants with multimedia technology training in video & sound production, interviewing techniques and web site development and we conducted five field trips to cultural designations in the metropolitan area. Additionally, we scheduled and executed oral history interviews with thirteen senior citizens residing in the District of Columbia, producing eleven web sites containing more than 435 files. In late July, we built a training laboratory at Carnegie Library and held open house activity during the last week of the program.
In mid-September, we produced and conducted a project demonstration at the annual Black Family Reunion celebration hosted by the National Council of Negro Women at the National Monument Grounds. Since then, we developed a "Writing Your History" curriculum for senior citizens, researched and designed an Internet media station capable of streaming both audio and video material, been negotiating with the DC government to provide employment opportunities for our youth during the school year.
Plans for 2001 include: gaining in-school employment for our youth; building the Internet media station; providing media station production training for both youth, elders and volunteer "community" programmers; conducting "Writing Your History" workshops for elders; and launching the Internet media station this summer.
Basic Technologies, International conducted an evaluation study of our summer 2000 project and we are pleased to present them to you. In it you will find specific detailed information about the project and its participants.
We encountered a set of serious problems in implementing its activities. Resources promised, especially by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, were not made available. Yet, in spite of these problems, a program was put in place that should serve as a model for jointly training youth and the elderly in information technology
Twenty-eight youths were selected to participate in the program, thirteen female and fifteen males from 14 to 19 years of age, most were 10th and 11th graders with a grade point average of 2.50 or higher, with eight participants having a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. Of this group, seventeen eventually came to work with us and another eight joined the project within two weeks after it’s launching on June 19th.
Nineteen stayed with the project until its conclusion on August 11th. Of that group, ten were female, nine were male from 14 to 19 years of age, and all were 10th and 11th graders with the exception of one 8th grader, one college freshman and two college sophomores.
During weeks five and six, July 17th through July 28th, the youth participants created oral history recordings of 13 senior citizens between the ages of 60 and 96 years using their training in digital photography, videography, sound production, and web site design. The youth was divided into four teams, and conducted interviews of the elderly program participants under the direction of experienced interviewers. Seven of the elders resided in Ward 7, three in Ward 4, two in Ward 5 and one in Ward 2.
All the program youth participants received training in digital photography, video camera usage, lights, logging, sound editing, video editing, and photo/graphics editing. The youths were divided into four teams (journalists, web designers, documenters, and support team members) in producing ten websites from interviews with thirteen senior residents of Washington, DC.
ConnectDC2000 had a significant, positive impact on the youth. Twelve of the youths indicated that before they entered the program, their knowledge of web design was poor. Five of the youths indicated that their knowledge was fair. On the other hand, ten to twelve of the youth rated the program as “excellent” in teaching them about the role of a web designer and how to make a web page. Twelve of the youths reported that ConnectDC2000 did an “Excellent” job in contributing to their computer skills. Ten reported that the program did an “Excellent” job in contributing to their knowledge of multi-media techniques. Thirteen of the youths rated their overall benefit from the program as “Excellent.”
It is evident that the program had benefited the youth in a number of important ways. First and foremost, it affected how the youth participants view technology, their future, and their relationship with seniors. The program exposed youths to an avenue whereby they can make a contribution to their community, and in the process, the program gave them marketable technological skills. The funds for this program were well used. ConnectDC2000 should be replicated wherever possible.
We have established an online directory of documents that present the total ConnectDC2000 Phase I story. We invite you to examine them and give us your feedback and your pledge of support for our Phase II efforts. Please access them at http://www.Interchange.org/ConnectDC-Report