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partnerships:articles:demo [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +# Demonstrating how computers can work for the community
 +by Sara Gowen
 +More and more community groups are using computers and some are finding
 +that the latest technology - including the Internet - is useful to their
 +work. But it is important to get beyond the hype and make the technology
 +work for us and meet our needs! Sounds good but how can we do it? Here
 +is one idea that worked well in Leeds in March 1996
 +How and why we ran the day
 +'​Making Computers work for the Community'​ emerged as an idea in
 +discussion between two community organisations,​ Community Links and the
 +Burley Lodge Centre at our national conference - the start of the
 +networking! We are both members of BASSAC (the Urban Community Network)
 +and are committed to community development is all aspects of our work.
 +Using the experience of information technology learned through our
 +everyday work, in producing publications and running training courses
 +for community groups, we decided to share the knowledge!\
 + The day was designed to give community groups 'hands on' experience of
 +a range of information technology, from word processing through to the
 +potential of the internet. We set up six workstations (e.g. computer and
 +printer or modem) each with a '​tutor'​. People came from community groups
 +with no computers through to those who were thinking about going online.
 +The mixture of skills and experience of the participants enabled them to
 +share their own knowledge and form contacts which will provide local
 +support and advice.
 +What participants said!
 +After the first hands on session participants formed small groups and
 +brainstormed two questions: what have you learnt and what questions do
 +you have? The response was interesting in revealing the wide range of
 +attitudes and experience of IT for community groups. Looking for example
 +at the responses to these questions for those who had been at the
 +internet workstation:​
 +-   There is too much information - how do you manage it?
 +-   Some good, some bad information
 +-   There is a problem of access - getting the skills
 +-   It is like a big library or encyclopaedia - but what about the
 +    interactive stuff?
 +-   ​It'​s not very fast
 +-   There are a lot of hidden costs
 +-   ​Incredible!
 +-   How do you find relevant material quickly on the net?
 +The general comments are equally revealing:
 +-   It is useful to find out what others are doing
 +-   Cheap day but expensive equipment!
 +-   Need - what do I need? and
 +-   Cost - what can I afford?
 +-   Where does servicing/​backup come from?
 +-   ​Communities are empowered by access to IT
 +-   It has given me encouragement for further study
 +-   You still have to use your brain!
 +-   How do you find out which packages will be most useful for each
 +    group?
 +-   Where do you find out about courses and costs?
 +At the end of the day, participants came together to discuss how to get
 +access to resources. This final session was an attempt to answer some of
 +the questions raised in the day - particularly what support, courses,
 +etc., were available in and around Leeds. The main themes to emerge were
 +sharing and collaboration,​ from sharing information,​ providing training
 +for each other to collaboration in purchasing.
 +Why not organise your own?
 + '​Making Computers work for the Community'​ was a success, we could have
 +had more computers, more time, more space but the basic format for the
 +day works. It is easily transferable to other parts of the country - so
 +why not think about organising a similar day in your area.
 +What was involved
 +A budget for the day is difficult to calculate as much of it came as
 +gifts in kind which we have broken down to give real indication of cost.
 +True costs worked out at £50 per participant @ 50 attending with 6
 +computer workstations,​ based on a staffing rate of £10.00 per hour.\
 + The following is a guide to the time we took to organise the day,
 +taking the organisation over six months, divided up as:
 +-   Month One: Discussion and initial planning
 +-   Month Two: Arrange venue, catering and facilitators
 +-   Month Three: Plan publicity and continue arrangements
 +-   Month Four: Publicity out, prepare advance information for
 +    participants
 +-   Month Five: Prepare programme pack and inform
 +    facilitators/​participants of details. Check all necessary equipment
 +    will be available
 +-   Month Six: Confirm catering, final arrangements and send out press
 +    release.
 +A full report of the event has been published and is available for £1.50
 +(including post and packing) from Community Links, 237 London Road,
 +Sheffield S2 4NF.\
 + ​Email:​
partnerships/articles/demo.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)