1. Thanks to ICT Summit Team members from First Nations Technology Council and PCNA
the 2009 ICT Summit planning team and partners, one of our Aboriginal Youth Writers (Adele Alexander), won a brand new Dell laptop
on the last day.
It's compact and light – and the First Nations Technology Council (First Nations Technology Council) people who added on free programs for us. The laptop came with Open Office which is an open source application – that means it's usually free! (See the scroll at the right for more details or the website http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source_software
The Open Office program is fairly close to Microsoft® Office - it has word processing documents and spreadsheet program similar to Word and Excel, respectively.
Now here's something project managers, funders and partners need to know... I don't have a laptop and don't have easy access to a library (with needing babysitting for my wonderful kids), so having a laptop at home means I can work in evenings when they're in bed.
Adele has been using one of the Acer laptops Kristin bought last year for her four summer employees – and as most people do, Adele has personalized it a lot (changing the background colours and screens, settings, etc.)
So when Adele won the Dell (say that out loud three times), she asked Kristin if it was OK to keep her ‘old’ Acer instead of this Dell, and Kristin agreed. So since I'm new and don't have a laptop of my own, I get the Dell. So I should be saying thank you to the First Nations Technology Council and the Pacific Community Networks Association for their help in connecting me to technology – and therefore, to a job and resources for me and my family!!!
Thank you all for helping us connect better to technology! Thanks for helping us to see across and then begin to get across the Digital Divide.
See First Nations Technology Council report for more detailed information
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2. What is the digital divide?
Here’s some of Kristin’s thoughts from a paper she’s writing for her Masters of Indigenous Education program. “The 'digital divide’ is a term coined to describe the gap between those with or without access to computers and the Internet – it might be used to describe the gap between those who have
and those who have not.
If homes and businesses and organizations do not have affordable, high speed Internet connections and access to computers/laptops, they miss out on an incredible wealth of employment, health, news, culture, and information and services available on-line.
Yet there is the assumption among most Canadians that ‘everyone’ has access – but the First Nations Technology Council (FNTC) report from 2006 found that “55% of First Nations communities have less than half of the homes in the community connected in any way to the Internet. Almost one-third (32%) of the communities have less than one-quarter of homes connected” (FNTC, 2006) – a statistic that seems incomprehensible for most Canadians of any age."
Consider how limited you would be if you didn’t have high speed, affordable access to the Internet in your community. You could not easily check your email, browse or shop on-line, look for job postings, find medical information, use Facebook or MySpace accounts, look up school calendars or find course information, get press releases about initiatives in your community, read a world of newspapers and magazines on-line, even stay on top of treaty and self-governance news.
3. How am I starting to use a new laptop?
LOTS! It helps me stay connected with the other Aboriginal Youth Media Team
workers, do research for writing articles, and mess around to find different websites. I can find out about upcoming events and assignments for the AYM Team along with searching for a job when our project is done. I’m not too comfortable using forms yet, but I’ll get better.
I'm not scared to explore the different folders on the computer – I just don't want to delete anything important. So I am very careful of what do. This has been a very good experience.
Since I have been working the Aboriginal Youth Media Team, I have learned some new things on the computer some of them are just simple things like pasting cutting and gluing things on to other word docs. Well this stuff may seem easy to most but for me it is somewhat frustrating…so I hope to share some of the Tech-e tips I learn.
Here we go - letting people know what I learned...
The first thing that I did when I finished typing the draft of this article was that I saved it as an (ODT). I thought that was a good one because of the OD like Odessa. Turns out that ODT means Open Document Text
, which is a really basic free open source word program. It works well to type up an article, or letter, but doesn’t have fancy formatting stuff. The challenge is that once you type it, you need to save it properly
so others can read it.
Like I said, I chose to save it as an ODT file. Well, that wasn't a good thing to choose ODT, because my co-workers could not get into the word doc that I had written on their Office Word programs.
So I learned to save the document under a new format or a new file type.
I had to re-open the document, then go to File
and Save As
a Microsoft Word 97/2000. See the picture at the right for the Save As Type list you can use to pick a format that is easily read by others.
That way, other people could open it on their laptops or computers, too.
Pretty simple start – but it saves us both a lot of trying to figure it out in the future.
OK- that’s it for now. Watch for more Tech-e tips from me if we get some more AYM Team funding soon!
4. Resource doc’s
For more info about the digital divide, Canadian strategies and the First Nations Technology Council’s mandate to connect communities to computers, the Internet, and capacity development , visit these links:
– The First Nations Technology Council website is full of resources, reports and tools
Wikipedia definitions at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_divide
The Digital Divide in Canada -
Sciadas, G. (2002)..
Retrieved November 18, 2006, from Statistics Canada website at: http://www.statcan.ca/english/research/56F0009XIE/56F0009XIE2002001.pdf
To learn more about Spiritlink’s Aboriginal Youth Media Team
projects, contact Kristin(at)spiritlinking.com
or phone 604-783-8304. We’re looking for partners to provide valuable ‘earn and learn’ experiences this fall for the next phase of our 21st Century Literacy Skills project
Odessa Hall is a member of Spiritlink’s AYM Team
Picture of Odessa by Kristin Kozuback, RedWAY BC News editor