BTOP

Steal these tech trainer competencies

The Colorado State Library has developed a set of competencies for technology trainers as a part of the Colorado Public Computer Centers program (funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program). These competencies focus on the skills needed to teach technology in a library context.  They are based on existing trainer competencies, and integrate technology as the primary subject of instruction.

For some, signing up for broadband is not funny or easy

When I read a recent New Yorker "Shouts & Murmurs" piece called "Explaining your Time Warner Bill" I could see how the average New Yorker reader might find it humorous. I mean, the litany of charges are ludicrous and unbelievable ("$4.95 Credit for watching the film 'Old Dogs' in its entirety"). That's funny.

Because assessing your work is not easy

Typically, the process of organizing a webinar at TechSoup is de riguer: webinars are a large part of the services we offer, and we have a good network of experts and collaborators on whom we call to create a comprehensive and useful program. To determine what topic to cover, we listen to what libraries and nonprofits need, and this time was no different: through our work with BTOP grantees we've learned that organizations involved in broadband efforts need help crafting and implementing assessment plans. Armed with this information, we decided to put together a webinar on assessing technology projects, including training and projects related to BTOP efforts.

Notes from the experts: assessing technology projects

Harried multi-taskers in small community anchors such as libraries and community centers are doing the bulk of the work to close our digital divide.  But who has time to reflect on the impact of your programs when the toilet is blocked, a teary child is standing at your desk, and every phone call is for you?  Project evaluation can appear to be a luxury of time and resources when it gets heaped on to the to-do lists of the busy people who staff community-based organizations. 

BTOP Projects at Work: Operational Excellence and Program Flexibility: An Oxymoron?

This weekend we launched our Fast Forward trainings in Rio Rancho, a sizable suburb just north of Albuquerque, NM. Once again, we have over 300 registrants! It seems we are off to a solid start in another community.

BTOP Projects at Work: Building Successful Intercultural Partnerships

Last week I shared some ideas about how to identify partners likely to help your organization and community development BTOP project succeed. Our efforts to build partnerships with entrepreneurial community development organizations have been fairly straightforward: Encuentro and La Comunidad Habla share many of our organization’s communication norms and practices.  Creating effective partnerships with public libraries has, however, not been as easy to do.

BTOP Projects at Work: Collaborations between Libraries and Nonprofits

In challenging economic times, organizations can persevere and even thrive if they forge partnerships that leverage resources. Two non-profit organizations in New Mexico and Washington are using the funds from the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to establish partnerships with libraries that help them better serve their communities.

BTOP Projects at Work: Ramping Up Public Computing Access in the Midst of Staff Cuts

Staffing cuts can have devastating consequences for a library, the effects of which can reverberate throughout an entire community. In the face of economic hardships, enterprising ideas can be a key to survival. Three libraries in Arizona, Texas, and Washington are using innovative thinking and funding from NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant to survive in the midst of budget reductions.

BTOP Projects at Work: Promoting Sustainable Broadband Adoption

Acquiring and sustaining high-speed Internet access can be difficult and cost prohibitive in remote and low-income areas. In such communities, innovation and additional funding are often essential. Two non-profit agencies are using the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) to fund innovative ways to assist communities in Ohio, New York, and California.

BTOP Projects at Work: Connecting People to Broadband, Computers, and Resources

We recently spoke with Mark Melaspina, from Computers for Youth, a New York-based nonprofit that received BTOP funding for two separate projects based in Los Angeles and New York. His smart and inspired program is positioned to make a real difference in these communities. I'll let him share how they plan to do it.