Monday, October 17, 2011

Tenderloin Technology Lab, CTN Volunteer Training, Computer Lab Sign

On Tuesday morning, Dan and I went to Tenderloin Technology Lab to observe the Basic Computer Skills Class. 12 students on 12 workstations were taught by Peter and assisted by 1 TTL staff, Dan, me, and 2 other volunteers. Students were taught how to find the USB flash drive on the computer, how to create a folder, open a Word document, copy text, open a new document, paste text, and save (a copy) in the folder they just created. Students also practiced typing, formatting text and spell-check. I thought the exercise files distributed to students on USB flash drives worked very well. And of course, having 1 teacher and 5 volunteers to 12 students definitely work.

On Tuesday in the evening, I helped in the CTN Volunteer Training conducted by Kerri. 7 new attendees were expected, but 9 showed up. I am glad to to have met 2 former VISTA members (Mina and Charles) and Carlos who works as a technical writer at TechSoup. I have attended different volunteer trainings, and I learn something different every time. For example, while working at California Campus Compact (2004-2006), I observed that their trainings emphasized more on service learning and personal safety of the volunteer. At the pre-service orientation in Fort Lauderdale, I observed their trainings emphasized more about the understanding of the issue of poverty and the responsibilities of members to do their service notwithstanding the lack of guidance, support and resources. At CTN and AspirationTech, I observed that the trainings are based more on shadowing and mentorship. Most recently on this Tuesday, I observed that the brief training of USF student volunteers at Valencia Garden's computer lab has more to do with why they do it and what their expectations are instead of what to do or how to do it.

First thing on Wednesday, I found out that HandsOnTech Corps is not longer providing smart phones for members citing technical difficulties with phone contracts. Instead, they will reimburse members based on what percentage they use their own phones for service-related work. I sent an email to them stating my concerns, and they suggested I have Kami contact them. I hope I get tools needed to do my service soon. According to Thomas Gilbert, a performance engineer, performance will suffer if there is a lack of knowledge, motivation or tools. The solution could be people, process and technology (per Gunner) or teaching, counseling and technology (per an educator). Here is Gilbert's probe model that I have often used while studying instructional technology (2002-2005):

At 10 a.m. Dan and I checked in with Kami on the phone. I am glad Kami will try to get Dan and I smart phones. We also talked about the directory, Valencia Gardens, trainings at Google and scheduling a meeting with AspirationTech. Kami also suggested Dan and I include Jessica and Uno in our deliverables spreadsheet and share it with them.

At 12 p.m., Dan and I watched the webinar about "Handling Difficult Conversations", presented by Judith Katz. She said difficult conversations are common everywhere, including social media, and we could make them worse or better, but we can take the opportunity to connect with people using "Non-Violent Communication". The four steps of NVC are observation, feelings, needs and requests. This is a bit different that other conflict resolutions and violence prevention workshops that I have attended that emphasizes first on personal safety, listening, and giving people choices such as to lower their voice if they want to be helped. For notes and slides about the webinar, please go to

On Thursday, Dan and I watched a webinar about Navigating the Politics of School Politics by HandsOnTech Corps, and then attended a team meeting with Lorna and Kerri.

On Friday, Dan and I worked at AspirationTech in the morning before heading over to Tenderloin Technology Lab to teach an intermediate class about keyboard shortcuts and file management. There were 8 students. I started with keyboard shortcuts, and then, Dan taught file management. We were glad there were "tools" for us to teach with such as handouts, a projector, working computers and a volunteer.

When not attending any meeting, etc., I spent the week mostly on the Room Rules poster for Valencia Gardens computer lab, and reporting (blog, timecard, surveys, deliverables spreadsheet, etc.)

Finally, I finished reading the Managing Technology. It is very informational and insightful, especially for non-profit decision-makers and technology users who wants to better leverage technology for their organizations. It will be useful when I start doing the tech assessments for non-profit organizations. I am not sure if I would get into too much details with them though, such as determining the stage of technology and analyzing the return-on-investment (ROI).

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