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The Equitable Internet Initiative is Seeking Youth for the “Next Gen Apps Youth Program”

DCTP Blog - Mon, 09/11/2017 - 4:17pm

The Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) is seeking 60 middle and high school aged youth for the Next Gen Apps Youth Program. EII is a collaboration between the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), Allied Media Projects (AMP), Grace in Action Collectives, WNUC Community Radio, and the Church of the Messiah's Boulevard Harambe Program. EII is working to ensure that Detroit residents have the ability to leverage digital technologies for social and economic development.

Next Gen Apps are applications created to live on servers connected to neighborhood community wireless networks. These apps can be accessed by neighbors connected within the community wireless network through an intranet, or local server. We see these applications as an opportunity to foster collaboration, existing relationships, and neighborhood resiliency. The applications can be tools for neighborhoods without internet connections.

About the Next Gen Apps Youth Program

The Next Gen Apps Youth Program is a free 4-week training program in app development for the gigabit environment being offered to 20 young people in Detroit's Southwest, Islandview, and North End neighborhoods. The Next Gen Apps training provides digital literacy, coding, and app development skills to middle and high school-aged students, then facilitates apprenticeships between graduates and local technologists.

The program consists of two phases:

4 weeks | 20 students | September 25 - October 25, 2017

The Next Gen Apps program is a FREE training in application development for the gigabit internet environment with young people in Detroit's Southwest, Islandview, and North End neighborhoods. The initial 4-week training will teach app development concepts and basic coding skills such as CSS, HTML, Javascript, and Node.js.

Phase two (6 weeks) will provide an opportunity for six phase one graduates from each neighborhood to go on and build applications that help solve problems, foster collaboration, and fuel creativity within their neighborhoods. Youth who participate in this second phase will earn a laptop so they can continue to use their newfound skills, along with marketable skills which will set them on a path to obtaining or creating jobs in the growing tech industry.

Next Gen Apps Program Goals

Working with professional technologists, youth will prototype applications for their neighborhoods that leverage the power of the Gigabit environment and encourage collaboration, problem solving, and creativity among neighbors.

  • Students will connect their passion for technology and coding with community needs using coding language to create collective, innovative solutions.

  • Students will learn fundamental web development logic and concepts to be implemented in the design of a functioning web app.

  • Students will be exposed to and practice using CSS, HTML, Javascript, and Node.js coding languages.

  • Students will learn to navigate computers and utilize programs and shortcuts to speed up development time.

  • Students will explore and increase awareness of available career options in the tech field.

  • Students will understand how the skills they have gained can be expanded through exploration and self-guided learning.

How to Apply

The deadline to apply is September 15, 2017 by midnight. Please make sure to identify which neighborhood you would like to work in (Southwest, Islandview, or the North End). We ask that you apply to the neighborhoods you are familiar with and show that familiarity when applying.

Grace in Action (Southwest) - 1725 Lawndale Street, Detroit, Michigan 48209

Trainings at Grace in Action will take place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 4:15 - 6:30pm. Before applying, please make sure you are able to attend these weekly classes. Contact meghan@graceinactiondetroit.org with questions or for more information. Youth can also apply by clicking this link.

 

NewCC (North End) - 7700 2nd Ave Ste. 500, Detroit, MI 48202

Trainings at WNUC radio will take place 4:15 - 6:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Thursdays. Before applying, please make sure you are able to attend these weekly classes. Contact revjoan1949@gmail.com with questions or for more information. Youth can also apply by clicking this link.

 

BLVD Harambee (Island View/East Side) - 231 E. Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48207

Trainings at Church of the Messiah will take place 4:15 - 6:30 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. Before applying, please make sure you are able to attend these weekly classes. Contact wallyg@blvharambee.org with questions or for more information. Youth can also apply by clicking this link.

Learn more about the goals of the Next Gen Apps Youth Training Program by visiting the Detroit Community Technology Project’s (DCTP) website!

The Equitable Internet Initiative is Hiring App Development Trainers for the “Next Gen Apps Youth Program”

DCTP Blog - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 1:29pm

The Equitable Internet Initiative (EII)  is hiring app development trainers for the Next Gen Apps Youth Program. EII is a collaboration between the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), Allied Media Projects (AMP), Grace in Action Collectives, WNUC Community Radio, and the Church of the Messiah's Boulevard Harambe Program. EII is working to ensure that Detroit residents have the ability to leverage digital technologies for social and economic development.

About the Next Gen Apps Youth Program

The Next Gen Apps Youth Program is a free 4 week training program in app development for the gigabit environment being offered to 20 young people in Detroit's Southwest, Islandview, and North End neighborhoods. The Next Gen Apps training provides digital literacy, coding, and app development skills to middle and high school aged students, then facilitates apprenticeships between graduates and local technologists.

The program consists of two phases:

Phase one (4 weeks) will teach app development concepts and basic coding skills such as CSS, HTML, GitHub, and JavaScript, and server-side concepts.

Phase two (6 weeks) will provide an opportunity for six graduates from each neighborhood of phase one to go on and build applications that help solve problems, foster collaboration, and fuel creativity within their neighborhoods. As part of this phase, youth will receive mentorship and coaching from local technologists and will earn a laptop upon completion of the program.

Learn more about the Next Gen App Development Training here.

EII orientation

About the Next Gen Apps Development Training Position

Next Gen Apps Youth Trainers will be placed at one of the three EII anchor organizations. They will co-teach both phases of the program with another trainer, using EII curriculum.  EII will provide an intensive training in community technology pedagogy and Next Gen Apps curriculum prior to the start of the program.

This is a contract position for $25 per hour with the expectation of 15 hours ( including prep and training)  of work per week over the course of 16 weeks, starting August 29, 2017 and running until December 17, 2017. The total stipend will be $6,000.00.

Mandatory training dates:

  • Community Technology Pedagogy training:  8/29, 8/30, 8/31 from 10am-3pm

  • Next Gen Apps Curriculum training:  9/6, 9/7, 9/8 from 10-3pm

Specific Responsibilities
  • Support with recruitment of youth from the surrounding neighborhood of the anchor organization where you are placed, and of local technologists to serve in the role of app development mentors.  

  • Teach Next Gen Apps Training Phase One. Phase One will have a maximum of 20 students at each site and will include 24 training hours over four weeks.

  • Manage an application and selection process for six youth apprentices who will participate in Phase Two.

  • Teach Next Gen Apps Training Phase Two. Phase Two will have a maximum of six students at each site and will include 60 mentoring hours over six weeks, plus additional one-on-one coaching time.

  • Support the production of an end-of-program celebration and workshop where youth apprentices teach their neighbors how to use the apps they built.  

  • Support general program administration, including:

    • curriculum and instructor evaluations.

    • communications with students and apprentices as needed.

    • development of instructional materials as needed.

    • storytelling using the #gigabitdetroit hashtag.

Qualifications

Required:

  • Two or more years experience as a technology educator

  • A strong desire to work with youth in Detroit neighborhoods

  • Excellent organizing and management skills

  • Ability to work collaboratively, as well as independently

  • Ability to lead and facilitate the development of web applications from conception to completion

  • Fluency with CSS, HTML, GitHub, and JavaScript, and server-side concepts

Preferred:

  • Familiarity with Detroit’s neighborhoods and the community organizing landscape

  • Familiarity with Detroit's Southwest, Islandview, and North End neighborhoods

  • Being from one of these neighborhoods is a plus

  • Background or training in positive youth development

  • Familiarity with popular education theories and practices

  • Experience with community-based programming is a plus

  • Experience with teaching diverse audiences is a plus

  • Experience teaching in traditional or nontraditional educational settings

  • Experience designing web applications

How to Apply

Send your cover letter, resume, and three references to communitytech@alliedmedia.org no later than midnight, August 11th. Please make sure to identify which neighborhood you would like to work in (Southwest, Islandview, or the North End). We ask that you apply to the neighborhoods you are familiar with and show that familiarity in your resume or cover letter somehow.

Learn more about the goals of the Next Gen Apps Youth Training Program by visiting the Detroit Community Technology Project’s (DCTP) website!

Tips and Tools for Data Security

DCTP Blog - Mon, 05/08/2017 - 12:43pm

We leave a data trail with almost every interaction we have. Whether through credit card purchases, filling out a job application or using a rideshare app, our personal information is often saved or shared without our knowledge. Because this data trail can be overwhelming, many of us feel lost within or controlled by our data rather than the other way around.

The Detroit Community Technology Project wants to share some tools and resources from organizations and entities who have been thinking about data and digital security, to support our online and offline community members in taking control of their digital information. Data security refers to the different protective privacy measures that individual users and organizations can apply to their various technologies in order to prevent unauthorized databases, websites and computers from accessing personal information.

The toolkits and resources we share below offer a variety of ways to make our interactions with data systems more secure.

Data Detox

Data Security Resources Data Detox

Data Detox is a downloadable toolkit with an 8-day “Data Detox” program that provides some practical tips on everything from how to deal with your online data profile to the choices we make when we download apps to our smartphones. Each day has a different focus, such as social media, online shopping, and mobile apps, and guides you through a step-by-step “detox” plan.

Equality Labs

Equality Labs is “the first South Asian women/gender non-conforming/trans technology startup working at the intersection of story, art, and security.” Equality Labs provides a series of curricula and one sheets such as, “Digital Self-Defense in the Time of Trump.”

The one sheets cover securing your iPhone, securing your Android, securing your identity, securing your network access, security your communications, and securing your computer. Download them here.

Privacy Paradox

Privacy Paradox provides a series of podcasts on smartphone tracking, algorithms, digital privacy, online impact on your psyche, and your individual terms of service. This is a series of short podcasts with very helpful information, quizzes and downloads to help you “take back your digital identity and maybe even your soul.” The Privacy Paradox even has a podcast that encourages 15 minutes of total disconnect.

Disconnect

Mozilla’s Disconnect is an add-on for the Firefox web browser. Disconnect is an “open-source, pay-what-you-want software” that loads the pages you go to up to 44% faster and saves up to 39% bandwidth. It also stops tracking by thousands of third-party sites, and visualizes and blocks the otherwise invisible websites that track your search and browsing history.

Please note that Disconnect is only compatible with the Firefox web browser.

Data DiscoTech

Join us at the next Data Security Discotech

DCTP will be taking a deep dive into some of these digital and data security tools at our next Data DiscoTech on May 20th at the Detroit Public Library - Wilder Branch (7140 E. 7 Mile Rd, Detroit) from 1pm - 3pm! Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter for additional details in the coming weeks.

DCTP Launches the Equitable Internet Initiative Digital Stewards Training Program across three Detroit neighborhoods

DCTP Blog - Mon, 04/10/2017 - 4:17pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project is excited to welcome its newest digital stewards into the Equitable Internet Initiative Digital Stewards Training Program.

Digital Stewards OrientationTwenty-eight new EII digital stewards attended an orientation on February 23, 2017. Photo By: Erik Howard

The Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) accelerates outreach, training and wireless broadband Internet sharing on the neighborhood level in Detroit. The EII Digital Stewards Training Program is being implemented by three community anchor organizations in their respective neighborhoods:

  • Grace in Action (Vernor/Lawndale in Southwest Detroit)
  • Church of the Messiah (Islandview in Southeast Detroit)
  • WNUC Radio (North End)

Twenty-eight new EII digital stewards attended an orientation on February 23, 2017 and are now participating in a 16-week training with the anchor organizations listed above.

The EII Digital Stewards Training Program prepares teams of community organizers, people with construction skills, and techies to design and deploy communications infrastructure with a commitment to the Equitable Internet Initiative working principles. The digital stewards learn community wireless, which allows neighbors to form their own local network and share an Internet connection. The skills learned will also transfer to anyone that is looking to startup or work for a wireless internet service provider. Graduates of the digital stewards training will be eligible to apply for employment in the build-out of and adoption of wireless networks in their neighborhoods.

The training brings together both technologists and community organizers, which is important, because EII believes that digital literacy programs thrive through intergenerational relationships within the classroom.

Digital Stewards Digital Stewards Orientation on February 23, 2017. Photo By: Erik Howard

The Digital Stewards Curriculum

DCTP has already trained over 30 Detroit neighborhood leaders to build their own community wireless networks. In this iteration of the program with the Equitable Internet Initiative, digital stewards will learn new wireless technologies that increase speed, reliability and monitoring capabilities along with neighborhood resilience planning, and participatory community organizing.

Our curriculum facilitates ordinary people in rediscovering and validating their own capacity for becoming producers, creators, educators, and leaders, rather than relying on “experts” to pass on knowledge. Within the digital stewards model, collaborative media & hands-on technology education gives people the opportunity to engage, on their own terms, in a learning process where they use all available resources, including each other, to transform themselves as well as empower their own communities.

This time around, the digital stewards training is more decentralized - rooted in the neighborhood anchor organizations - because of DCTP’s new Teaching Community Technology Handbook, released in November 2016. The 100+ page handbook takes the trainees through the history of popular education while offering a step-by-step guide to developing community rooted technology workshops and curricula.

Digital Stewards Trainer Ocie is hopeful that through the program, work that is already happening in his neighborhood can be expanded upon as well as provide greater financial opportunities. “I would like to see the digital stewards be able to set-up or integrate the technology into the efforts that are already underway to redevelop and reinvigorate Island View. To some degree they are not well connected, so I would like to see the stewards figure that out in a way that uses the technology as well as helps them to make money.”

Nyasia, Digital Stewards Trainer in Southwest Detroit, is excited to build upon the community organizing aspect of the training. “There are some people in the neighborhood that know technology, but didn’t know how to use it or activate particular parts of it for community benefit.”

Get Involved

If you live in Southwest Detroit, Southeast Detroit, or the North End, you can host a community wireless router in your home or get involved at our upcoming community meetings. Email communitytech@alliedmedia.org to find out more.

Follow the conversation using #gigabitDetroit on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and look for opportunities to join a neighborhood advisory board in one of the three neighborhoods.

Sign-up for DCTP’s newsletter for updates on how to get involved with the EII Digital Stewards Training Program.

Guidelines for Equitable Open Data

DCTP Blog - Fri, 01/13/2017 - 4:48pm

Since the City of Detroit launched the Open Data Portal and GO DATA policy initiative in 2015, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (DDJC) and Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) have been exploring how to advance equitable practices for collecting, disseminating and using open data. By equitable practices, we mean accountable, ethical uses of public information for social good that actively resists the criminalization and surveillance of low income communities, people of color and other targeted communities.

In order to understand what equitable open data practices could look like in the City of Detroit, we asked a broad spectrum of Detroit residents to consider the potential benefits and harms of various data sets currently available on the City's Open Data Portal, a website that offers access to data and information concerning City government operations and service delivery. From there, we assessed what actions can be taken by the City to maximize benefits and minimize harms, and investigated open data policies and tools in place in other cities that model our vision for data justice.

The guidelines we offer below are the outcome of our research and outline how the City of Detroit’s Department of Innovation and Technology (DoIT) and other stewards of public information, in Detroit and beyond, can adopt and implement equitable open data practices.

We hope the guidelines will:

  • Prompt critical conversations and questions
  • Guide feature enhancements to Detroit’s data portal
  • Inform policy provisions to improve how institutions collect, disseminate and use open data

We anticipate that our guidelines, and the research that has shaped them, will continue to grow and evolve as we continue organizing around equitable open data. We welcome feedback and your ideas at communitytech@alliedmedia.org.

Data DiscoTechMonique Tate teaching about the Open Data Portal at a Data DiscoTech

Guidelines for Equitable Open Data in Detroit

Our recommended Guidelines for Equitable Open Data in Detroit include the following:

  1. Protect the people represented by the numbers
  2. Do not retain personal information tied to accessing City services
  3. Publish data about all City services, even for privatized “public” services
  4. Prioritize the release of new datasets based on community interest
  5. Increase transparency around how data sets are defined and processed
  6. Engage residents offline about open data
  7. Give the public a head’s up about plans for new data set releases and portal improvements so that we can be prepared to engage
Read the Full Report

You can read a detailed presentation of the Guidelines in the full Data Justice Report available on GitHub. The report includes key takeaways from our research, an overview of our research strategies, and access to resources for adapting our strategies.

The report explores the following questions:

  • What should Detroit residents be aware of when it comes to open data?
  • What are the perceived benefits and harms of open data to residents?
  • How can we inform all residents and educate our communities about open data?
  • What can we learn from other cities? What types of open data policies, portals and practices do they have in place?
  • What does participatory and democratic governance of open data look like, and how can we help to facilitate it here in Detroit?

Read the Report

Our Data Bodies

This past year, DCTP launched a local data justice campaign as part of a two-year participatory national research project, “Our Data Bodies,” supported by the New America Foundation. Similar to the Guidelines for Equitable Open Data, our research with Our Data Bodies poses the question: How do we minimize the potential harms of our interactions with data and technology?

In 2017 we will gather takeaways from our own research in Detroit, and our community partners’ research in Charlotte, NC and Los Angeles, CA, to produce a popular education guide about the challenges and opportunities associated with open data in low to moderate income communities. We will also host ongoing Data DiscoTechs and focus groups in Detroit to examine the interactions between data and community issues such as water shutoffs and housing. Learn more about this work on our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for information about upcoming Data DiscoTechs!

Introducing the “Teaching Community Technology Handbook”

DCTP Blog - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 1:29pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) is excited to present the “Teaching Community Technology Handbook”. This 100+ page handbook will take you through the history of popular education while offering a step-by-step guide to developing community rooted technology workshops and curricula. The handbook introduces Community Technology as a series of educational practices, combining theories and methods by Paulo Freire, Myles Horton, Grace Lee Boggs, Bernice McCarthy, Susan Morris, Grant P Wiggins, and Jay McTighe.

Community technology is a method of teaching and learning about technology with the goal of restoring relationships and healing neighborhoods. Community technologists are those who have the desire to build, design and facilitate a healthy integration of technology into people’s lives and communities.

DCTP was commissioned to produce the book by New America’s Resilient Communities Program in partnership with New York Economic Development Corporation’s RISE NYC Program. DCTP launched the Teaching Community Technology Handbook for public use internationally at the Mozilla Festival in Ravensbourne College, London in October.

Diana NuceraDiana Nucera, director of Detroit Community Technology Project, presenting at MozFest 2016 in London, UK.
Photo by Amy Hearn.

Why Teach Community Technology?

“We never know how our small activities will affect others through the invisible fabric of our connectedness. In this exquisitely connected world, it’s never a question of ‘critical mass.’ It’s always about critical connections.” - Grace Lee Boggs

We produced this handbook because we recognized that having a particular skill doesn’t necessarily mean you are equipped to teach it to others. Community Technology focuses on teaching strategies that can be employed to make the process of learning how to use and create technology more accessible and relevant. We believe sharing these teaching practices has the potential to diversify and shape technology fields to be more community-oriented.

We’ve learned from Boggs, Horton and Freire that the way in which we teach, along with who is teaching, has a great impact on how people learn. The roots of teaching and learning with communities traces back to the citizenship schools of the Civil Rights Movement. In the 1960s, racist policies targeting marginalized communities in the South, such as voter literacy tests, prevented Black people from voting in order to shape the future they wanted to see. Through citizenship “schools” thousands of African Americans in the South trained thousands of others to read and write. In this context, the purpose of literacy was to build the power of disenfranchised communities to fundamentally transform the power structures of the country.

Today, we live in an era where technology is interwoven with government, healthcare, social services and education. Yet digital literacy inequality is high - Detroit has one of the lowest rates of Internet access with 40% of households lacking Internet. Digital literacy is essential for people to access basic life needs. As cities shift towards data-driven development and wireless infrastructures, it is important to build the digital capacity of neighborhoods. The more that people know about the technology around them, the more they will be able to participate in shaping their environment.

Teaching Community Technology

How to Use the Handbook

Whether you’re a novice technology user who is interested in facilitating sessions on how to use a smartphone, an intermediate technology user who wants to teach people how to use hashtags, or an advanced technology user who is interested in designing interactive maps for community empowerment, this handbook provides tools, strategies and hands-on activities to support you in facilitating accessible workshops and programming.

DCTP has used the handbook to help grow digital stewards programming in Detroit through the Equitable Internet Initiative, and in New York with the RISE - NYC Resilient Communities program. Through customized trainings with community partners, we use the handbook to help build capacity in neighborhoods for others to be able to teach the digital stewards program.

Read and Share What You Learn!

You can download the Teaching Community Technology handbook here.

We have a limited number of printed handbooks available for those interested in learning about our community technology pedagogy, or educational practices. Visit our website and fill out the form, telling us how you plan to use the handbook and we will mail a copy to you!

Once you have had the opportunity to read and apply the techniques in this handbook, don’t forget to share what you’ve learned on social media. Tell us about your favorite activities and lessons using the hashtag #TeachCommTech and tagging our @DetCommTech pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Donate Once

DCTP Blog - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 2:41pm

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Detroit Community Technology Project. All donations to DCTP are processed through Allied Media Projects, a 501c3 tax deductible organization.

You can also contribute by sending a check made out to to Allied Media Projects and mail it to the following address:

Allied Media Projects
4126 Third St.
Detroit, MI 48201

Please write "Detroit Community Technology Project" in the memo line.

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DCTP Launches the Equitable Internet Initiative

DCTP Blog - Fri, 09/09/2016 - 3:56pm

The Equitable Internet Initiative will accelerate outreach, training and wireless broadband Internet sharing on the neighborhood level in Detroit. Led by the Detroit Community Technology project of Allied Media Projects, the Equitable Internet Initiative will ensure that more Detroit residents have the ability to leverage online access and digital technology for social and economic development.

Detroit has one of the lowest rates of Internet access in the U.S., with 40% of residents lacking broadband access. In recent years, we have seen new companies offering high speed 1-gigabit Internet options in Detroit, often at a higher price than standard connections. While this is an exciting development, it has the potential to exacerbate the digital divide, by equipping the already-connected with even faster connections, while leaving those without access even further behind.

Online access is essential for participation in the new economy, especially in high-tech industries. If we fail to equitably expand access then we will see new economic opportunity become more limited and exclusive – we cannot assume that the benefits will “trickle down”.

Digital Stewards + Next Gen Apps

The Equitable Internet Initiative aims to address this concern head-on by working to support neighborhood-based organizations to utilize these high-speed gigabit connections for the benefit of their communities.

To this end, DCTP has secured access to several wholesale, carrier grade gigabit connections. Through the Equitable Internet Initiative, DCTP will redistribute these connections to underserved communities while training community leaders to become “Digital Stewards”, proficient in the technical and community organizing skills necessary to deploy and manage wireless networks powered by the high-speed gigabit connections.

Since 2012, DCTP has trained community technology leaders in seven Detroit neighborhoods to become Digital Stewards, and the Project has supported eleven community groups internationally to adopt and modify this training for their local contexts.

For the Equitable Internet Initiative, DCTP is adding a new program component called “Next Gen Apps”. Next Gen Apps is developed in collaboration with partners Grace in Action, a network of youth-run collectives and worker-owned cooperatives in Southwest Detroit, and U.S. Ignite, a nonprofit organization that fosters the development and deployment of next-generation technology applications. Over the next six months, Next Gen Apps will train high school and middle school students in the neighborhoods served by EII to develop custom web applications that can take advantage of the high-speed gigabit environment.

EII anchor neighborhoodsDCTP convenes representatives from three neighborhood community anchor organizations for the Equitable
Internet Initiative.

EII Neighborhoods

The Equitable Internet Initiative will bring high speed gigabit connections along with the Digital Stewards and Next Gen Apps trainings to these neighborhoods:

  • Vernor/Lawndale in Southwest Detroit, in partnership with Grace in Action
  • Islandview in Southeast Detroit, in partnership with Church of the Messiah
  • North End, in partnership with WNUC Community Radio

Each of the community partners have strong track records of community engagement, youth leadership, and digital literacy programming. The EII will build upon existing community technology programs at each site, which currently include a community makerspace at the Church of the Messiah, a youth-run technology collective at Grace in Action, and a community radio station in the North End that focuses on developing local storytelling and journalism.

We look forward to building healthy partnerships, functional networks, and meaningful adoption where community members are invested in the ongoing stewardship of their neighborhoods’ digital resources. Upon the successful implementation of the EII in these three neighborhoods, DCTP aims to expand the initiative to other parts of the city. We will share best practices and lessons learned through publications such as the forthcoming Guide to Equitable Gigabit Adoption and Teaching Community Technology Handbook so that this initiative can be replicated in other cities.

EII Program Coordinator

DCTP is excited to announce our EII Program Coordinator, Janice Gates. In her role as Program Coordinator, Janice will support the three neighborhood anchor organizations to implement the Digital Stewards and Next Gen Apps trainings over an 18 month period. Janice comes to EII with an extensive background in directing public programming and “train the trainer” models of facilitation. Her commitment to establishing strong partnerships between organizations and community members along with her ability to guide non-profits in capacity building makes her an ideal candidate to coordinate the Equitable Internet Initiative.

About the Detroit Community Technology Project

The Detroit Community Technology Project’s (DCTP) mission is to use and develop technology rooted in community needs that strengthens human connections to each other and the planet.

We work towards demystifying technology and expanding digital knowledge in our communities. DCTP is a sponsored project of Allied Media Projects’ (AMP), developed out of the organization’s extensive experience of digital media education and community technology building in Detroit.

Bring the “Detroit Music Box” Community Radio Application to your Neighborhood!

DCTP Blog - Fri, 09/02/2016 - 3:05pm

Detroit Music Box is a community radio application that broadcasts stories and media from people living in the Cass Corridor. It is currently accessible on the CassCo community wireless network as a “local application” which means it can be accessed without using the Internet through the CassCo wireless network. The Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) has been collecting stories for Detroit Music Box since launching it over a year ago. We are excited to share that you can now download and install Music Box for your own neighborhood! Read on to learn more about Detroit Music Box, how you can access it in the Cass Corridor, and how you can set up this storytelling application in your community.

Why We Started Music Box

In 2016, Detroit has become a perceived mecca of possibility, a "comeback city." On the surface, that's a great thing. Unfortunately, the comeback narrative does not encompass the full story of Detroit, including the the voices of the predominantly black residents of the city, who have been largely misrepresented or not represented at all in these narratives.

Without knowing the stories of longtime residents of Detroit, most people would believe that the "comeback city" narrative was the full story. Capturing the stories of residents who never left - the residents who are creatively reimagining their neighborhoods despite decades of neglect - is crucial in portraying a counter-narrative about Detroit that shares the city’s rich history and uplifts the voices of marginalized communities.

Detroit Music Box makes it easy to collect and preserve the stories of residents and community members so that they can build a community-generated history of their neighborhoods, create alternatives to mainstream narratives about Detroit and educate people who are new to the city.

Cass Corridor Storytelling Event"Remember the Cass Corridor" storytelling event at Allied Media Projects

Detroit Music Box in the Cass Corridor

Detroit Music Box is currently available on the CassCo community wireless network, maintained by DCTP with support from the Detroit Digital Stewards Network. CassCo is a community wireless network that allows communities to distribute and share Internet connections. Every community wireless network has an “intranet,” a local network in which users can send and receive information wirelessly without connecting to the Internet. Because Music Box is housed on an intranet, it is available and accessible to a wider audience, including users whose Internet goes down and those without access to Internet, which is roughly 40% of Detroiters.

“CassCo” represents Cass Corridor, a neighborhood in Detroit that has seen rapid gentrification. This area has since been renamed as Midtown, but for many Detroiters who have lived in this neighborhood for decades, it will always be Cass Corridor. The implementation of CassCo and Detroit Music Box in an area like Midtown is significant because much of what once was is no longer there. Storytelling is a participatory way to preserve the past and archive the people’s history of Detroit.

DCTP launched Detroit Music Box in the Cass Corridor by asking the question “Do you remember the Cass Corridor?” DCTP gathered stories from residents in the Cass Corridor neighborhood by posting a public call online, putting up flyers in the neighborhood, doing door-to-door outreach and interviews, and hosting an event at Allied Media Projects called “Remembering the Cass Corridor,” which brought together longtime and existing residents, business owners, and artists from the Cass Corridor to share their stories. At the event, each story was recorded live and archived on the Detroit Music Box radio application. You can listen to all the stories from the event here.

Here are some more examples of stories from Detroit Music Box:

You can access these stories and more on the Detroit Music Box application on CassCo Community Wireless Network. See a map of CassCo access points here. Once you join the CassCo wireless network on your computer or phone, you will see a page with links to “local applications” and the “Internet.” Click on local applications and you will find Music Box.

CassCo Wifi CassCo wifi access points in the Cass Corridor

Want to submit your own story about the Cass Corridor? Here’s how:

  • Send a SMS or MMS (picture message) from your phone to dmb@vojo.co
  • Or call +1 (313) 451-7359 to record your audio story
  • Email - If you have longer audio pieces that you would like to submit, send the files to communitytech@gmail.com
Install a Music Box of Your Own

Music Box is now available for download as open source application! Open source means that people have collaborated on it to make it open to the public to use freely.

We have put together some installation instructions you can use if you'd like to set up a music box for your own neighborhood. You can run Music Box on a locally hosted community wireless network, like we did with the CassCo network, or you can also host it on a personal network in your home.

View and download the installation instructions here.

Data Justice Campaign

DCTP Blog - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 4:39pm

DiscoTech

Our Data Bodies

DCTP is currently engaged in a local data justice campaign as part of a two year participatory national research project, called the “Our Data Bodies Project,” in collaboration with the New America Foundation and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition.

The O.D.B. Project is a collaboration between academics and community-based organizations to explore the meaning and experience of privacy and data flows among poor and working class adults in three U.S. cities: Detroit, MI; Charlotte, NC; and Los Angeles, CA.

Participating organizations include:

  • DCTP
  • The Center for Community Transitions, Inc.
  • The Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN)
  • The Stop LAPD Spying Coalition

The data justice campaign in Detroit will conduct a participatory research process to understand the potential harms and benefits of the city’s Open Data Portal from the perspective of marginalized residents and community organizers. Through this research, DCTP and our partners will generate a set of data justice provisions for the City of Detroit’s Open Data Executive Order.

Components of the Data Justice Campaign:

Participatory research through community events
Through a series of Data DiscoTechs (discovering technology) community events, we will demystify open data so communities can participate in critical conversations about the harms and benefits of open data in their personal lives and communities.

Community education materials
Alongside our DiscoTech community events we will produce handouts, like the “Opening Data” zine (purchase a print copy or download the pdf), and curriculum for participants to further their education about topics introduced at the events.

Engagement with local officials
We will work with the Department of Information Technology and the Detroit City Council to advocate for the adoption and implementation of community-generated data justice provisions.

Contribute to research on the perspectives which low income and working class adults in the U.S. hold about privacy and data rights
We will ask Detroiters: how does the the city’s open data initiative affect the allocation of public resources such as transportation, public safety, and recreation?

The Detroit Community Technology Project is Hiring a Program Coordinator for the Equitable Internet Initiative

DCTP Blog - Wed, 07/13/2016 - 5:58pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP) is hiring a Program Coordinator for the Equitable Internet Initiative, a program that aims to ensure that more Detroit residents have the ability to leverage digital technologies for social and economic development. DCTP’s mission is to use and develop technology rooted in community needs that strengthens human connections to each other and the planet.

This is a contract position with the expectation of approximately 40 hours of work per week over 18 months, starting August 22, 2016. The position may be extended past the end of 2017, pending renewal of grant funds. The deadline to apply is August 3, 2016.

About the Equitable Internet Initiative

DCTP launched the Equitable Internet Initiative (EII) in order to ensure that more Detroiters have the ability to leverage Internet technologies for social and economic development. The goals of this initiative are to:

  • increase Internet access through the distribution of shared Gigabit Internet connections in three underserved neighborhoods;
  • increase Internet adoption through a Digital Stewards training program that prepares residents of those same neighborhoods with the skills necessary to bring their communities online; and
  • increase pathways for youth into the opportunities of Detroit’s Innovation industries through intermediate and advanced digital literacy trainings.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), Allied Media Projects (AMP), Grace in Action Collectives, WNUC Community Radio, and the Church of the Messiah's Boulevard Harambe Program.

About the Position

The EII Program Coordinator will support three neighborhood anchor organizations to implement the Digital Stewards and Next Gen Apps training programs over an 18 month period. The Digital Stewards training prepares neighborhood leaders to design, build and maintain community wireless networks, then stipends graduate to organize a network. The Next Gen Apps training provides digital literacy, coding, and app development skills to Middle and High School aged students, then facilitates apprenticeships between graduates and local technologists.

The Program Coordinator will oversee the development and implementation of timelines, curriculum, and outreach strategies for these training programs at each site, in collaboration with anchor organization leaders. They will work with DCTP communications staff to develop written and visual materials about the EII program as a whole. They will assist the DCTP Director with program evaluations, facilitation of program retreats, and will engage in local and national conversations about equitable Internet adoption strategies.

The EII Program Coordinator will report to the Director of the Detroit Community Technology Project, a sponsored project of Allied Media Projects. The Program Coordinator will be expected to work out of the Allied Media Projects offices in Detroit. Compensation will be commensurate with experience.

Specific Responsibilities
  • Assist the DCTP Director to lead an orientation with anchor organization staff to set goals, expectations, and agreements for the 18 month initiative.
  • Coordinate hiring processes for Digital Stewards trainers across all three anchor sites (including: writing job descriptions, facilitating selection processes, and leading orientations).
  • Coordinate hiring processes for Next Gen Apps trainers across all three anchor sites (including: writing job descriptions, facilitating selections processes, and leading orientations).
  • Facilitate monthly check-ins with Digital Stewards trainers and anchor organization staff, in order to provide support with:
  • Participant recruitment
  • Curriculum design and implementation
  • Selecting Digital Stewards graduates for network build-out and adoption campaign apprenticeships
  • Design and management of apprenticeships
  • Creation and facilitation of Neighborhood Network Advisory Boards
  • Overall program management
  • Facilitate monthly check-ins with Next Gen Apps trainers and anchor organization staff, in order to provide support with:
  • Participant recruitment
  • Curriculum design and implementation
  • Selecting Next Gen Apps graduates for tech apprenticeships
  • Design and management of apprenticeship programs
  • Overall program management
  • Assist with the development and implementation of program evaluations
  • Assist with design and facilitation of program retreats (for curriculum writing, evaluation, and orientations).
  • Provide support for program logistics as needed, including support for planning program graduation ceremonies for both Digital Stewards and Next Gen Apps.
  • Help organize a Digital Justice Network Gathering at the 2017 Allied Media Conference
Qualifications

Required:

  • Excellent organizing and management skills
  • Ability to work collaboratively, as well as independently
  • Ability to lead and facilitate simultaneous programming
  • Experience with large group facilitation
  • Experience with event production
  • Experience with community-based program management
  • Experience with managing and maintaining partnerships with diverse sets of stakeholders.
  • Strong interpersonal and time-management skills.
  • Fluency with Google Applications (Docs, Drive, Sheets, Forms, etc.)

Preferred:

  • Familiarity with Detroit’s neighborhoods and the community organizing landscape
  • Familiarity with popular education theories and practices
  • Familiarity with the work of DCTP and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition
  • Experience teaching in traditional or non-traditional educational settings
  • Experience designing, using, and/or teaching community technologies
How to Apply

Send a cover letter, resume and three references to Diana Nucera at communitytech@alliedmedia.org no later than midnight, August 3rd. The email subject line should read: "Program Coordinator for the Equitable Internet Initiative."

Allied Media Projects is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages people of color, women, LGBTQ, and disabled candidates to apply.

DCTP Program Coordinator

Equitable Internet Initiative

DCTP Blog - Wed, 07/06/2016 - 3:39pm

EII

The Equitable Internet Initiative

The Equitable Internet Initiative is a collaboration between the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), Allied Media Projects (AMP), Grace in Action Collectives, WNUC Community Radio, and the Church of the Messiah's Boulevard Harambe Program.

From July, 2016 to January, 2018, we will work together to ensure that more Detroit residents have the ability to leverage digital technologies for social and economic development.

The goals of this initiative are to:

  • increase Internet access through the distribution of shared Gigabit Internet connections in three underserved neighborhoods;
  • increase Internet adoption through a Digital Stewards training program that prepares residents of those same neighborhoods with the skills necessary to bring their communities online; and
  • increase pathways for youth into the opportunities of Detroit's burgeoning Innovation District through intermediate and advanced digital literacy trainings.

Through the Equitable Internet Initiative (EII), DCTP will accelerate outreach, training and wireless broadband sharing on the neighborhood level in Detroit. The EII will serve residents in Detroit’s Southeast, Southwest, and North End neighborhoods, which were selected based on their comparatively low income and educational levels in contrast to the Greater Downtown area, and based on their proximity to existing DCTP hubs, whose support can be leveraged.

Community Anchor Organizations

Three community anchor organizations will implement the EII programs in their respective neighborhoods:

  • Grace in Action (Vernor/Lawndale in Southwest Detroit)
  • Church of the Messiah (Islandview in Southeast Detroit)
  • WNUC Community Radio (North End)

The EII will build upon existing community technology programs at each site, which include a community makerspace, a youth-run technology collective, and a community radio station that focuses on developing local storytelling and journalism. Through their participation in the EII, these community anchor organizations will grow their capacities to respond to rapidly changing digital opportunities and threats in Detroit.

Detroiters Demystify “Data” through DiscoTechs

DCTP Blog - Fri, 06/10/2016 - 6:54pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project in collaboration with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, hosted its third “Data DiscoTech” at the Boggs Education Center on June 2, 2016. At the Data DiscoTech young people learned about what data is, unique ways to create data visualizations, and how to collect and analyze data.

This event was one of a four-part series of “Data DiscoTechs,” community events that educate Detroiters about the city’s new open data portal and what data justice can look like. This series is part of a two-year research project supported by the Digital Trust Foundation.

We focused on youth activities at this Data DiscoTech because every resident in Detroit should have data literacy, including kids, so they can navigate and shape the future of Detroit as it moves towards a smart city infrastructure. Some stations that were popular with youth included “Changing the Headlines,” where participants learned basic html by changing the titles of headlines and images on news websites. In another station, youth could help sew a “data quilt” where each quilt panel represented what they wanted to see in their neighborhood.

data discotech

At the Data DiscoTech we address fundamental questions that typically get overlooked or arise too late in open data projects. These include: What are the forms of data that are collected about us? What are the potential harms and benefits of open data? What kind of culture do we want to grow around our use of data and technology?

These DiscoTechs are guided by the Digital Justice Principles and provide intergenerational opportunities to demystify data and technology for even the most novice of technologists. Each station has a volunteer station manager who walks participants through a step-by-step process of facilitating their learning or discovering of technology.

Here are some more examples of the various technology and data stations you might find at one of our Data DiscoTechs:

  • Data mapping
  • Wireless mesh technology
  • How to FOIA or request data from public agencies
  • Creative data visualizations

At these events you can also pick up a copy of the Opening Data Zine, which breaks down open data through a series of articles written by Detroit Digital Justice Coalition members and colleagues.

Wondering what this looks like in practice? Here is a video recap of our first Data DiscoTech held in September, 2015 at the Samaritan Center in Detroit.

Do you have an interesting and fun way to demystify data? Email tawana@alliedmedia.org to find out how to get involved in the Data DiscoTech series. You can also join us at the Allied Media Conference in Detroit June 16-19th to learn more about data justice and community technology.

vojo16965 Story

Detroit Music Box - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 7:02pm
Map: 

Re-imagining the Internet: Lessons from Our 2015 Seed Grantees

DCTP Blog - Tue, 04/12/2016 - 3:36pm

In 2015, the Detroit Community Technology Project and the Open Technology Institute initiated the Community Technology Partnership to provide seed grants to 11 global civil society organizations that are using digital infrastructure to strengthen their communities. We worked with each of the grantees throughout 2015 to adapt the community technology practices we developed in Detroit within these global contexts.

We are excited to report back on the best practices and lessons learned from this international work! From community radio stations to youth-built infrastructure and pop-up networks for large festivals, these projects have approached community technology in innovative and collaborative ways.

The 11 organizations that were awarded seed grants are:

  • AlterMundi, Argentina
  • Alternative Solutions For Rural Communities, Chin State, Myanmar
  • Collective of Community Radio and TV in North Kivu (CORACON), Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Falanster, Belarus
  • Fantsuam Foundation, Kafanchan, Nigeria
  • School of Computing University of Namibia (UNAM) and Glowdom Educational Foundation (GEF), Connecting Eenhana, Namibia
  • Janastu, COW (Community Owned Wireless) for Devarayanadurga, India
  • Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative (CMLO), Mulukuku Micronet, Nicaragua
  • Nuvem, Fumaça Data Springs, Brazil
  • Radio Maendeleo, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Santa Unipessoal, Maubisse, Timor-Leste

zineDiagram of CowMesh wireless network from (Re)Building Technology Zine Vol. 2

Community Technology Retrospective: 2015 Seed Grants Report

At the beginning of this year we released the report, Community Technology Retrospective: 2015 Seed Grants. In this report you can learn about the unique purposes and goals of each seed grantee, our grantmaking process and proposal review criteria, and find interactive resources such as a project goals and metrics worksheet and monthly reflection questions.

Read the Report

(Re)Building Technology Zine Volume 2

In addition to the report, we produced a zine, (Re)Building Technology Zine Volume 2, which is a compilation of practices and stories from the 11 global community technology grantees, including "10 Community Network Lessons," facilitation exercises, diagrams of the network designs, and more! We hope you can use the zine as an educational tool to inform your own community technology projects.

rebuilding technology zine

Purchase a copy of the zine on the AMP store or download the pdf.

Read the “10 Community Network Lessons” from the zine in full below!

10 COMMUNITY NETWORK LESSONS

Based on the successes and lessons of our projects and partner projects, we offer the following suggestions:

  1. Community networks should be led and built by the people they intend to serve. Too often outsiders initiate projects to help a local community build a network. Outsiders can serve as supplemental technical support, or provide other expertise, but should not initiate or lead a project.
  2. Begin projects with open, participatory community meetings, where everyone can be involved in the initial planning and learning. Shared ownership and responsibility are best built from the first moments of a project.
  3. Focus on the community process at least as much as the end result. The promise of community networks is only met when they are actually built and governed using an inclusive process. How are users becoming leaders or experts? How are people engaged in the decision making process?
  4. Are you providing a service (as an internet service provider), or organizing people to build infrastructure? Either model is valid, but it is best to be clear about the goal, and establish your organization and strategy accordingly.
  5. Choose the simplest technology or even non-tech solution to get the job done. For example, a lot of energy in community wireless has been dedicated to creating open source mesh firmware; however, in some cases a simple point-to-multipoint network will be more resilient and easier for people to understand. Similarly, a community radio station, an outdoor bulletin board, or two-way radio system may fit the need better.
  6. Be sure the project is not technology in search of a problem. A network should not be the goal--but a means to an end. It should be clear that the project serves a critical need articulated by the people most impacted. It is easy for people to get caught up in new technology and never get to the point where the technology is serving its intended function.
  7. Incorporate art, media, music and storytelling. Content is at least as important as the network infrastructure, especially for drawing diverse people into the process and keeping them engaged.
  8. Involve other groups, organizations, and movements even if they seem unrelated. Using a shared visual language and participatory planning process can help involve a wide range of groups.
  9. Invite kids to everything. Similarly, make sure community elders can participate, provide input, and give feedback. Ensuring that the process is accessible to everyone strengthens the project.
  10. Make sure there is a cycle of learning and teaching included in every aspect of the project. Learners becoming teachers will help ensure sustainability

Have you built a wireless network or other digital infrastructure project in your community? Do you have tools or resources to share with us? Email us at communitytech@alliedmedia.org and we can add them to our collective resource kit on Github.

Detroit Community Technology Project interviewed in Michigan Radio

DCTP Blog - Thu, 03/10/2016 - 5:27pm

Ever wondered what a “community wireless network” is? Want to learn how to share an Internet connection in your community? Check out this interview with The Detroit Community Technology Project on The Next Idea, a project of Michigan Radio whose mission is to share “new innovations and ideas that will change our state.”

In the interview, Diana Nucera, Director of the Detroit Community Technology Project (DCTP), and Cliff Samuels, a member of the Detroit Digital Stewards Network, discuss how to expand digital inclusion and digital literacy in Detroit’s neighborhoods through community wireless networks.

“How do we make the Internet relevant to people?” Diana asks in the interview which aired on Michigan Radio on March 3. “More than just consuming media, how do they then become producers of their own media, producers of their own infrastructure and start building the Internet in a way that makes sense to their neighborhoods?”

Since 2012, DCTP has trained over 60 people through the digital stewards training program, built six functioning wireless networks in Detroit neighborhoods, and partnered with the Open Technology Institute of the New America Foundation to support the development 11 global networks. The City of New York has also adopted the digital stewards training model as part of a RISE NYC project in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Read and listen: “Communities growing Detroit’s digital capacity one house at a time” on Michigan Radio’s The Next Idea.

Interview Highlights

On the advantages of a community wireless network:

“The beautiful thing about a community wireless network … is that you’re able now to share one connection. Most of us are used to having a single connection so what’s tricky is actually convincing people that it’s ok to share an Internet connection. What we’ve been calling this is ‘digital philanthropy’ - thinking about this as a way for neighbors to connect with each other and get to know each other.” - Diana Nucera

“There is also an intranet - not only can neighbors share Internet connections but the network will work without the Internet … a neighborhood can design what kind of data they want to store, what kind of applications they want to use to communicate.” - Diana Nucera

“Unlike models in the past in which groups go into the community and just slap technology on them and leave, digital stewards... find out their needs and concerns, help them construct the systems that will help solve their problems, and then also at the same time train them on maintaining the systems.” - Cliff Samuels

On the impact of the digital stewards program for marginalized communities in Detroit and beyond:

“There’s always been a belief that people of color really don’t understand or use or develop technology. My goal … through the digital stewards is to show that this is a false belief, that yes, people of color, black people, women, Latinos, we understand technology. … We’re into tech, it’s just that the current paradigm really doesn’t show us as a major contributor.” - Cliff Samuels

“It’s amazing what’s coming out of detroit and how relevant and important that is to other places that are finding similar issues. I would like to see this model scale, and community organizations and block clubs running their own versions of Digital Stewards programs, because I believe it’s important to build the digital capacity of Detroit as the city is being developed and shifting to a ‘smart city’ infrastructure.” - Diana Nucera

Get Involved

Want to join the Detroit digital stewards community? The Detroit Digital Stewards Network holds meetings are every second and fourth Thursday of the month from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. at Allied Media Projects (4126 Third St.). Members get together to explore and learn new technologies with the goal of supporting community owned wireless infrastructure (wifi networks). Fill out this form to get involved!

Tawana Petty joins the Detroit Community Technology Project as Data Justice Community Researcher

DCTP Blog - Mon, 12/28/2015 - 2:56pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project is excited to welcome Tawana Petty to the team as our Data Justice Community Researcher beginning in January 2016. Tawana has a diverse background of community organizing experience in Detroit, particularly around issues such as water rights, digital justice, and youth advocacy.

In her role as Data Justice Community Researcher, Tawana will lead a participatory research process exploring issues of data rights, digital privacy and racial and economic inequality in the U.S. This two-year research project is supported with a grant from the Digital Trust Foundation.

As a member of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, Tawana has collaborated with other coalition members to organize events centered around digital justice principles. She has co-facilitated social media workshops and presented workshops at the recent Data DiscoTech that aim to demystify data and make technology more accessible to communities and grassroots organizations.

tawana pettyTawana Petty at AMC2015. Photo by Ara Howrani

“I’m excited to work with Tawana because she carries a powerful drive and ambition to see social justice and change in Detroit,” said Diana Nucera, program director of the Detroit Community Technology Project. “Her mix of research and organizing experience, her collaborative and nurturing approach to teaching and learning, and her brilliant writing skills make her a strong fit for this position.”

Tawana’s community involvement includes being a board member of the James and Grace Lee Boggs Center, and working with Detroiters Resisting Emergency Management, We the People of Detroit, and the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition. She is also a mother, poet and author, and was born and raised in Detroit.

Tawana recently joined other members of the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition on a trip to Brazil to learn an international perspective on the development and management of community wireless Internet networks. She recently shared her perspective on community technology in an article published in the Black Bottom Archives.

Welcome to the team Tawana!

Learn more about the Detroit Community Technology Project. Help us grow this important work of digital justice and digital stewardship by making a donation at the link below.

Donate

Video and Photos from the Data DiscoTech

DCTP Blog - Tue, 10/27/2015 - 2:55pm

The Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, Detroit Community Technology Project, and Detroit People’s Platform collaborated to organize our first “Data DiscoTech” on September 15th, 2015 at the Samaritan Center. A DiscoTech is a multimedia, mobile neighborhood workshop fair, developed by the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition in 2011.

DiscoTechs create a space where people can discover technology together. Participants learn at their own pace and from people who understand the context of their neighborhoods and communities. The emphasis is on creating a peer-to-peer learning environment where those with a passion and proficiency for technology work and learn alongside communities who may be new tech learners.

Our Data DiscoTech event was organized in response to the “Open Data Portal” released by the City of Detroit earlier this year. At the Data DiscoTech we hosted 15 different hands-on stations focused on how we can make data more accessible and useful for community organizing. Individuals had the opportunity to learn about everything from data visualization, mapping their “data body” and learning about mobile apps designed to serve local communities. We also released the “Opening Data” zine, which presented use cases, opportunities and challenges associated with open data.

Check out our video recap of the Data Discotech!

 
Read more about the 15 hands-on stations at the Data DiscoTech below. Interested in organizing a DiscoTech or a training for your community? Contact us!

Hands-on Stations at the DiscoTech

Intro to Twitter
At this station, we learned how to make the most of using this social media tool for social justice. We explored how to tweet using 140 characters or less, and how to utilize hashtags and web tools such as TweetDeck and Twubs.

Twitter Station

Data Scraping
At this station we used the app Kimono to "scrape data" from websites. This involves transferring website content into datasets or spreadsheets. Kimono is a tool people often use to gather trends or do public polling on Twitter. It can also be used to make data that is only available in digital format available as a spreadsheet or in an analog format.

Data Visualization
At this station we demonstrated how data visualization can be a tool to make data easier to understand, more engaging, and interactive. Participants analyzed prepared datasets and conducted mini challenges that used different methods and tools for data visualization.

twitter

Stencil Art
At this station we learned how to use data creatively by making stencil art based on data regarding water shutoffs in Detroit.

Simple Flyer Making
At this station we explored how to design flyers with a web based design platform called Canva to help support your social cause or event.

Flyer Making

Transit Justice: Understanding our Bus System
At this station we learned how to analyze survey data regarding the quality and availability of bus routes in Detroit via “heat mapping.” Participants identified interactions with their own transit routes and explored alternatives.

Utility Assistance
At this station we provided information and sign-up assistance for people in need of help with utility bills and demonstrated how residents can apply for benefits online.

Your Data Body
At this station participants created maps of all the electronic data that is stored about them. We discussed who collects this data, where it's stored, and who makes decisions about it. Participants gained an understanding of how our "data bodies" impact our daily lives and what we can do to gain more control over them.

Community Wireless Networks For You!
This station offered an open Q & A on community wireless networks with a running demo of a community wireless network and examples of local applications such as wikipedia and the Music Box community radio station.

Comm. Wireless Networks

Navigating Open Data Portals
This station introduced residents to information available through the City of Detroit's Open Data Portal as well as Data Driven Detroit's Open Data Portal. Participants explored how this information can help them gain a better understanding of activity conducted by the City of Detroit and how that affects their neighborhood.

Data Justice Survey
At this station participants filled out a survey about what kinds of data justice provisions should be applied to the City of Detroit's current Open Data Executive Order. Participants were asked to attend two stations prior to attending this station: “Your Data Body” and the “Detroit Data Portal 101.”

Environmental Justice with Land Data
This station encouraged participants to think about a collection of plant seeds as data collection. We shared a collection of heirloom seeds, or a “seed bank”, with participants and then introduced them to an online gardening tool that can be used to envision gardens for vacant lots in Detroit.

Detroit Mobile Apps
This station informed people on Detroit-specific applications that were created with open data such as Text My Bus and Improve Detroit. These apps show how data can be useful in our everyday lives in Detroit.

Mobile Apps

Land Data
At this station we used the website Motor City Mapping to work with residents to identify vacant lots in their neighborhoods and how to use this data to support communities in building land trusts.

Data Murals
At this station we learned how we can use data creatively through “Data Murals,” or public art that engages community members in a dialogue about data-driven representations and misrepresentations of their community. Organizers from Detroit Future Schools shared their process for creating data murals.

See more photos of the Data DiscoTech here!

The Detroit Community Technology Project is hiring a Data Justice Community Researcher

DCTP Blog - Thu, 10/15/2015 - 4:12pm

The Detroit Community Technology Project is hiring a Data Justice Community Researcher for a two year research project made possible through a grant from the Digital Trust Foundation. The project will explore issues of data rights, digital privacy and racial and economic inequality in the United States. Partners include the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, Detroit Community Technology Project and the New America Foundation.

The Detroit Community Technology Project facilitates and advocates for the use and development of technology rooted in community needs that strengthens our human connections to one another and the planet.

About the Data Justice Community Researcher

The Data Justice Community Researcher will lead a participatory research process which will include:

  • organizing community technology fairs in Detroit
  • conducting one-on-one interviews
  • facilitating focus groups
  • co-creating educational tools and materials, and
  • synthesizing and analyzing data.

The Data Justice Community Researcher will work in collaboration with Detroit Community Technology Project staff, leaders from the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition, and a national team of researchers at the New America Foundation who are investigating similar questions in Los Angeles and Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Data Justice Community Researcher position is based at the offices of Allied Media Projects in Detroit and will report to the Director of the Detroit Community Technology Project.

This is a contract position with the expectation of 16 hours of work per week at a rate of $22 per hour beginning January 2016 and ending March 2018.

The deadline to apply for this position is November 15, 2015. The ideal start date for this position is in early January, 2016.

Specific Responsibilities
  • Work with community organizations in each of Detroit's seven districts to organize "DiscoTechs” or community technology fairs around the theme of data (one in each district).
  • Work with local data technologists to develop workshops and educational materials for DiscoTech events that demystify data and empower residents to use data for community organizing efforts.
  • Facilitate focus groups about people's' interactions with state and private data systems, the results of which will inform a popular education guide and local policy recommendations.
  • Organize and conduct one-on-one interviews and focus group interviews.
  • Synthesize and analyze collected data using the qualitative data analysis software Dedoose.
  • Contribute to a popular education guide and workbook of community education activities based on research results.
  • Work with the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition and national researchers to create bottom-up policy analysis and recommendations for data justice.
  • Travel to annual research convenings (travel funding will be provided).
  • Share knowledge and build connections with researchers and organizers in Los Angeles, CA and Charlotte, NC.
  • Contribute to reporting requirements required by the grant.
Qualifications

Training will be provided in participatory research methods. We will look for the following qualifications in consideration of candidates for this position:

  • Familiarity with Detroit’s neighborhoods and the community organizing landscape in the city.
  • Ability to work collaboratively, as well as ability to self-direct.
  • Experience in organizing community events.
  • Experience in creating community-driven policy.
  • Strong interpersonal and time-management skills.
  • Desire and ability to work in diverse communities.
  • Basic computer skills.
  • Spanish or Arabic fluency is a plus.
  • Familiarity with popular education approaches and methods a plus.
  • Social science research background welcomed, but not required.
How to Apply

Email applications preferred. Send a resume, cover letter, and the names of three professional references to Diana Nucera at communitytech@alliedmedia.org on or before November 15, 2015. The email headline should read: "Data Justice Community Researcher position"

Please combine resume, cover letter, and names of three professional references into one PDF document and attach it to the email. Alternatively, send applications by postal mail to Detroit Community Technology Project, 4126 3rd Street, Detroit, MI 48201.

We strongly encourage people of color, women, LGBTQ, and disabled candidates to apply.

data researcher

Meet the Community Technology International Seed Grantees

DCTP Blog - Sun, 10/04/2015 - 4:13pm

We are excited to introduce the 11 seed grantees awarded funding in 2015 for community-controlled communications infrastructure projects. The Open Technology Institute and the Detroit Community Technology Project have utilized funding provided by the Human Rights & Democracy Fund of the U.S. State Department to award each grantee with $10,000 USD in support of their community wireless projects. These projects use a community organizing process to plan, build and govern a shared communications infrastructure in their city or region.

The funding is provided in a context in which digital communications and technologies creates both opportunities and challenges for underserved communities.

Digital communication and technology has been an important tool for enhanced local community media, improved transparency, and organizing on social justice issues. However, technology has also been used within systems of control to enhance surveillance, decrease personal privacy, aggregate the control and creation of information, and exacerbate disparities between groups that have the resources to benefit from a new technology-based economy and those that do not.

To resist these systems, people continue to build community-based technology projects and demonstrate an alternative vision. We are inspired by these small acts of resistance to digital control in neighborhoods, small towns, and rural areas around the world. These projects are rich with lessons in what the role of technology can be to restore neighborhoods, build new relationships, and develop new systems that encourage collaboration and creativity.

Each of the 11 projects that we have funded shares a vision of community technology and digital justice that includes:

  • Mutual learning that encourages practice and action, investigation and listening
  • Participatory planning and collaborative design
  • Collective self-governance

International Seed Grantees

The 2015 Community Technology Seed Grantees are:

AlterMundi, Argentina: AlterMundi is an organization that researches, experiments and disseminates technologies and practices that facilitate the development of a sustainable society, tending to the common good and in harmony with the environment. They will document the technical and social aspects of their successful network so others may replicate their model, and will add support for local applications to LibreMesh, an open source mesh firmware. Learn more here.

Alternative Solutions For Rural Communities, Chin State, Myanmar: This project will build the capacity and stability of an existing community network established by the organization, and allow them to add local server content and increase digital literacy training.

Collective of Community Radio and TV in North Kivu (CORACON), Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo: Building on their network of community media partners, CORACON will facilitate the establishment of a community network to support the creation of local digital media content and sharing of educational content. The network will provide a chat communication platform, radio programming, and educational resources in French. In partnership with Free Press Unlimited.

Falanster, Belarus: Falanster was founded to create the foundation and conditions for sustainable development of civil and cultural side of our society through use of digital technologies. Falanster is establishing a Mesh Club to share information and practice about wifi and mesh networks in our society. Learn more here.

Fantsuam Foundation, Kafanchan, Nigeria: Fantsuam Foundation will build a network to link several villages, as a means of increasing the tempo of civic education and political accountability, conflict resolution, and provide access to secure livelihood information. Learn more here.

School of Computing University of Namibia (UNAM) and Glowdom Educational Foundation (GEF): Connecting Eenhana, Namibia: Staff and students at UNAM are in partnership with GEF, an NGO that works to support learning amongst community members of the small town of Eenhana and surrounding villages. The project aims to support generating and sharing local content and to increase access of schools to educational content, including for learners and students at a Special school for Deaf learners. It also enables UNAM's students to apply their technical knowledge in the real world in supporting local technological empowerment. The evolving network includes an intranet of digital content, analog telephony, a digital noticeboard and solar-powered nodes. Learn more here.

Janastu, COW (Community Owned Wireless) for Devarayanadurga, India: Janastu (“let it be people”) works as a technology research and development support for social and local needs. In partnership with MojoLab Foundation, the project will build a low-cost, autonomous community-controlled network as part of the establishment of a हैकरgram (hackergram) space. The project will pilot and document low-cost technology solutions, such as networked RasberryPi’s to televisions. Hackergram, Janatsu and Mojo Lab are implementation partners for servelots.com

Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative (CMLO), Mulukuku Micronet, Nicaragua: CMLO will establish a community network to enhance the capacity of the CMLO to function as a hub for education, media access, local communication and civic participation. This work builds from their community radio station and Internet cafe.

Nuvem, Fumaça Data Springs, Brazil: Nuvem is dedicated to the development of projects related to different types of autonomy, whether in the arts, communications, nourishment and life in the rural areas in general. They will engage community members to set-up an autonomous network providing local applications and cellular service, in an area that currently has no communications infrastructure. Learn more here.

Radio Maendeleo, Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo: Established in 1993, Radio Maendeleo is a critical provider of news and cultural content in North and South Kivu. The project will help create digital infrastructure in Bukavu to enhance the community media ecosystem, provide a platform for sharing knowledge, and support their digital engagement activities. In partnership with Free Press Unlimited. Learn more here.

Santa Unipessoal, Maubisse, Timor-Leste: Santa Unipessoal’s Youth Media Mesh project will conduct media-making workshops, create content on the local network for cultural preservation and historical documentation projects, and build a community wireless network linking various sites in Maubisse. The project will be will be led and maintained by Leublora Green School, the first informal educational institution in the country to teach Timorese youths about sustainable use of natural environment and resources, its impact on their lives, and the importance of sustainable development.

Latin American Community Wireless Meetup in Brazil

From October 7-11, the Latin American Community Wireless Meetup will convene our SEED grantees in Central and South America and our community wireless colleagues from Washington D.C for a five day gathering in Visconde de Maua, Brazil. At the meetup SEED grantees will share their community wireless practices and organizing strategies in order to build a strong global network of exchange. The meetup will include hands-on workshops, peer-to-peer consultancies, local application skillshares, and alternative energy skillshares.

Seed grantees attending are Falanster, Belarus; AlterMundi, Argentina; Nuvem, Fumaça Data Springs, Brazil; and Maria Luisa Ortiz Cooperative (CMLO). Network partners attending are the Open Technology Institute and Rhizomatica. DCTP supported in developing the agenda for this event. Stay tuned for more updates from this gathering!

Resources for communities to build their own wireless networks are available in the Community Technology Fieldguide, which includes a neighborhood network construction kit, facilitation tools organizing models and more.

Ryan Gerety is a senior field analyst at the Open Technology Institute, where she continues to work at the intersection of technology and social justice both domestically and internationally.

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