Technology Sphere

Guiding Principle:  “We are not going to get a better, more responsible tech industry until we get a more intellectually diverse one. . . .  [Jessica Powell said:] ‘Even putting aside broader issues around gender diversity, ethnic diversity or class diversity, there’s also an issue around people’s educational background.  If you have a hierarchy where engineers are at the very top . . . you really miss something.’”

New York Times, Oct. 5, 2018

 

Objectives:

Building confidence in participants’ ability to learn and master technology (software, hardware, devices) beginning at a novice level and advancing to higher levels.

Reinforce skills participants already have (on smartphones and computers, for example) and apply them to less familiar applications.

Focused learning on specific devices software applications (Word, Excel, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Pro Tools, etc.).

Career building, based on individual interest and skill level, through contact with professionals in various technical fields.

Using the STEAM model to train more advanced students in coding, website design, etc.

Emphasis on demographics that are underrepresented in technical fields (girls and people of color).

Understanding technology as a mode and medium for artistic expression.

Helping older citizens become comfortable with technical skills needed for daily life in the 21st century.

Components:

Music and video editing

Computers, cameras and recording equipment

Field recording techniques (linked in with story-telling)

Using social media to promote online content, such as podcasts and web-videos

Recording and filming techniques

Protecting and organizing data

Planning a project for completeness and efficiency of flow

Studying and analyzing examples of excellent content and applying lessons to original creations

Resources:

Volunteer Staff (Professionals and Retired Professionals, College Students, Skilled High-schoolers)

Small budget for digital decoration of educational spaces (engage creative youth in design/implementation)

Small budget for community building events to introduce locals to computer lab/maker’s space

Annual Budget:

$8,000:   year one for programming.  (Year 2 and 3 budgets for programming in this sphere will be much larger.)

Schedule:

Daily technology-sphere activity on a rotating schedule

Volunteers commit to a day of the week to offer programming

Participants have a daily technology/design experience in addition to daily arts and health activities

Integration with other spheres:

Arts

Visual arts activities to promote creativity and innovation in coders

Health

Graphic design to develop health promoting visuals

Utilization of apps to help teach activity, nutrition, relaxation

Utilization of computers to teach skills to access reliable statistical information to advance health

Arts & Health

Sicilian Food Project (type 2 diabetes, migration effect, statistics, culinary and gardening arts)

DNA Values Project (intergenerational: youth and adults discover their roots, research the arts and healthy indigenous foods from their home countries, discuss different cultures and their distinct values)

Technology Sphere Leadership:

Chris Chenier – Wesleyan University Professor and creator of Wesleyan’s Digital Design Studio

Kris KolstadVP of Marketing and Business Development for a local aerospace corporation (background and degrees in engineering) is our lead in approaching technology-driven corporations; he is currently in France negotiating new, multimillion-dollar contracts with Airbus, the largest commercial aerospace manufacturer in the world

Kwame Ocansey – Retired programmer and IT specialist who worked at CIGNA for decades, founder of LEEADS, that built a school in Ghana, and of “Rites of Passage” at Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown

Sandra Gordon – spent her career in IT, working in several of the Hartford-based insurance companies, including Aetna, Cigna, United Healthcare and XL Insurance, as a Developer, Business Analyst and Project Manager; she recently retired