Friday, September 30, 2011
On Monday, at AspirationTech, Dan and I worked mostly on calling and emailing centers around the Bay Area to update our directory and to make comtacts.
On Tuesday, we had a meeting with Leo Sosa and Rishi at One Economy Corporation that also received the BTOP grant, is doing many technology-related community outreach digital literacy projects similar to CTN. Besides talking about some websites and resources that we can look into (such as changeyourtomorrow.org, meraki.com, www.thebeehive.org, www.pic.tv and digitalliteracy.oneeconomyportal.com), Leo also offered office space for us to use for trainings.
In the afternoon, Dan and I met Jessica and Uno to go to lunch and introduction at Google's San Francisco office at 345 Spear Street. We were greeted by Elaine Theios and Sarah, who took us to the cafe, and then to the conference room to meet with Debbie Newhouse and Matt Severson at Google, Mountain View. Debbie and Matt offered to mentor Dan and I. They also asked for ways that they may help us. Suggestions given were hosting events at their place (San Francisco or Mountain View), recruiting Google volunteers, and helping to identify NPOs in the South Bay.
In the evening, I attended the Community Leadership Awards Celebration, at Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, hosted by the San Francisco Foundation. 8 high school students and 5 community leaders were honored for their work.
On Wednesday, Dan and I facilitated the first half of the Cloud Computing presentation/discussion at the CTN Connection Event at Goodwill.
The rest of the time on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were mostly spent working on CTN network directory, helping users in the VG computer lab (including the one very "needy" elderly man!), migrating the BTOP website, and attending meetings including the staff meeting, event planning meeting, Valencia Gardens meeting, one-on-one meeting with Kami, webinar with HandsOnTech Corps, and a phone call with Lucy. I asked Lucy about the telephone. I also resubmitted the travel reimbursement request to SJ, and sent in my laptop computer for servicing after receiving the authorization and instruction to do it.
Monday, September 26, 2011
On Tuesday, there were meetings about the CTN Connect event (and giving a presentation about Cloud Computing), going over the draft work plan (from now until January), the BTOP database, BTOP website and updating the CTN directory network. Dan and I also attended a HandsOn Tech Corp webinar about reporting. For example, they wanted the VISTA members to complete surveys (such as stories, reflections, etc.) on the website where we enter our time card, and use their pre and post surveys as a way to measure what specific areas and groups we are working on. In the afternoon, Dan, Kami and I went to pick up a donated microwave.
On Wednesday, I went to observe Paul teach about doing mail merge in MS Word at Goodwill, 1500 Mission Street. In the afternoon, I worked on site at CTN's office.
On Thursday, Dan and I attended a HandsOn Tech Corps webinar about recruiting skilled-based volunteers. We spent the rest of the day talking about and preparing the CTN Directory Update document on Google Apps.
On Friday, Dan and I started contacting the organizations on the CTN Directory Update about their computing facilities, etc. and if they want to be listed in CTN's Network Directory. In the afternoon, we went to Aspiration for a meeting, and we spent the rest of our day working on about blog and time card.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Monday, September 12, 2011
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Besides eating incredible food and being accommodated in a lovely hotel with a hot tub and pool our week a google proved to be quite the experience. The first two days were spent riding bikes and taking googles lazy river around the campus on tubes (just kidding! however, I did suggest to many google employees the idea of a lazy river surrounding the google complex might not be a bad idea). In reality, we spent the first day learning about googles for non-profits software package which is offered to non profit organizations that qualify free of cost. We spent the afternoon working with google employees who showed us how to use different programs that were offered in the google for non-profits package including adwords, google docs, google analytics google sites and google plus. On day two we heard from various organizations (google maps, youtube, microsoft, linked in and sales force.com) that also offered discounted or no cost software for non-profits.
Thursday I think by far was the most informative and productive day at google. We started the morning hearing from Mark Ball a very zened out transcendental kinda of guy who gave us excellent ways in which we can help organizations change. He used terms from the book switch as well as put them into play showing us how appropriately and correctly address situational change. After Mark spoke Gunner spoke with a somewhat similar message but with a completely opposite approach. Using his non-stop ranting as well as humorous analogies Gunner wooed and impressed our fellow vistas with his ideals on how to approach organizations who are in need of change and problems you might face while doing so. He explained how its not all about tech but more about people and listening. Often non-profits don't care about necessarily the best practices of technology but more about saving the world. It is important to speak their language rather than tech talk to help them achieve and succeed in the direction that will be beneficial for their organization. Finally, in the afternoon we formed four different groups that each met with a single non-profit from the bay area. We listened to the tech issues each organization was having and then formed up suggestions on what they could do to resolve these issues based on what he had learned from the week. I think this activity was very resourceful yet still seemed a little bit too much for what we had just learned. I think many of my fellow Vista's were very reluctant to suggest software/tools that we had literally just learned about when they had never used it before in their life. Going back to what gunner was talking about before never suggest anything unless you've test driven in one full cycle with an organization. I think overall the idea of the activity the ability for us to talk to real life non-profits was great, however I still feel we weren't completely ready and a lot of us thought that just because we had been taught about new tools that week at tech camp we should automatically suggest them to non-profits. This is kinda of a scary thought for the year. I'm afraid that just because we learned about certain tools/"free" software at this training camp many Vista's are going to assume that it is the best. I think other options need to be explored and not just main stream software. Overall, the week was very informative on the side that we learned excellent ways to speak listen and carryout our mission for the year. I'm still a bit apprehensive and weary for what the year has to offer but that is me being me..however it still should an experience that I wont' forget...
After one week of AmeriCorps Pre-Service Orientation in Fort Lauderdale, and swearing in on the last day (August 19), all the VISTA members returned to the service site they were assigned to. I am one of the 4 HandsOn Tech Corps members who were assigned to San Francisco. Dan and I are hosted by Community Technology Network. Jessica and Uno are hosted by AspirationTech.
On our first day of our service, Dan and I met Kami Griffiths, the Director of Community Technology Network. She gave us an orientation about her organization. I learned about the history, mission, projects and direction of CTN, and how my role as an AmeriCorps VISTA member fits with CTN. Kami also provided Dan and I with a Lenovo IBM Thinkpad computer to do our work. Kami introduced us to one of CTN's partner, Valencia Gardens (390 Valencia Street), who is also hosting CTN's office at 360 Valencia Street. I met Martin and Sharee of Valencia Garden. We then went to lunch and AspirationTech's orientation and training about the Publishing Matrix conducted by their director, Allen Gunn. We also met Lorna Walsh and Kerrey Shannon, the other 2 staff members of CTN, for the first time.
On our second day, the 4 HandsOn Tech Corps members of CTN and AspirationTech went to Sacramento to attend a training conducted by Misty of AspirationTech. The 10 participants learned about the Publishing Matrix and Social Dashboarding using Netvibes.
On the third day, we continued with our on-site training at AspirationTech. Allen Gunn, director of AspirationTech, talked about "People, Process and Technology". Then, he talked about the "Four Processes for Sustainable Online Impact, which are "Audience Assessment", "Publishing Matrix", "Message Calendering" and "Social Media Dashboarding".
On the fourth day, I joined the webinar training hosted by HandsOn Tech Corp at http://pointsoflight.adobeconnect.com/techcorps. In the afternoon, Kami and Lorna talked about internet safety and how to work with new computer users. Then, Danielle, a former VISTA member talked about her experience. At 5:30 p.m., while searching for mobile phone plans for the smart phone we are going to get, the computer stopped responding. After 4-5 minutes, the blue screen came up. Subsequent attempts to reboot failed. Diagnostics indicated hard drive failure. I will be using my own computer until the given computer is fixed.
On the fifth day, Matthew Garcia of AspirationTech conducted a training session on Wordpress, attended by all 4 San Francisco VISTA members as well as Lorna of CTN and other 2 community partners. Dan and I started working on the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) website using Wordpress. It is temporarily being hosted at http://test2.bettertools.org
Day one began at CTN's office at Valencia Gardens where we met with Kami who gave Mun and a run down of what to expect and what we would be doing for the next year. We then walked over to Aspiration by receiving some introductory motivational and inspiring words from Aspirations Executive Director Allen "gunner" Gunn. Throughout the week we learned about Aspiration's beliefs and concepts and how it applies to teaching nonprofits how to use technology. I thought it was interesting how they like to take the "techie" out of tech and how they don't want their clients to call them back after they've taught them. Aspiration goes by three basic concepts: people, process, technology. I feel that even though our work may be slightly different than that of aspirations these concepts can be applied to our teaching techniques throughout the year. The next day we took a trip up to Sacramento to see how one of the training's that aspiration gives works. Misty lead the training about how to create a publishing matrix (a useful chart for organizing your organizations social media) and how to use that publishing matrix to put your social media into social media dashboard or a website that lets you view your social media all at once. http://www.netvibes.com/en
Wednesday and Thursday were spent learning more in depth about how Aspiration and CTN work as well as an overview of the work that we would be doing for the next year. On Wednesday evening Mun and I attended the monthly CTN connects meeting. The meeting was a very informative session on different inexpensive low-income families and individuals can take to get themselves connected on the internet and have access to technology. On Thursday Kami and Lorna gave us some good insight onto web security and some important points we might teach to new users of the internet. I fond this topic particularly interesting not only from the standpoint of an experienced web user who found out about a few new tips on being careful when surfing the web, but also how important it is to teach web users the importance of security who may look past very important risk factors.
On Friday we sat in on another Aspiration training given by Matt who taught us and a few other nonprofits how to create a word press website. Having some experience in wordpress I was excited to see what else I might learn about creating a website. Word press is a free open source tool that can be used to either create a blog or web page. http://www.wordpress.org Mun and I were assigned to create a resource center website for BTOP (Broadband Technology Opportunity Program) in the bay area that will be eventually be used in the future. The session was extremely helpful and helped start a great website. You can check out our progress on the website here: http://test2.bettertools.org/ The week ended with a nice start to our year. I was really pleased on how much Mun and I were able to accomplish on the BTOP website and how it will eventually be up and running as a resource center for staff and volunteers in the bay area. I headed into the weekend apprehensive and unsure of what to expect at our week at the Google Complex.