October 1, 2000
When communities begin thinking about expanding their technology resources, it is often from the perspective of what they lack, how far behind they are, or how unfamiliar they are with the technological landscape. In fact, communities have a wealth of resources and history on which to draw in thinking about and using technology in ways that support rather than undermine their values and goals. The technology connections that exist in a community may not be obvious, however. The activities in this guide are designed to help identify some of those connections and resources. They begin with the development of a History Wall, in which participants chronicle important developments in their community's history. In the next activity, Mapping Technology Spaces, participants identify the places in the community where technology is already accessible, or where access could be increased. Finally, the Talent Search produces a list of people and organizations that can help with technology issues. You may want to use this guide in concert with the Access by Design publication, Technology in Your Community: A Community Conversation Guide, which can help community members articulate their goals and concerns about technology in the context of the community's values, strengths, and challenges. By using these two guides, you can move ahead in planning for technology in your community with a clearer sense of purpose and of the resources you can draw on in the process.
This process is especially designed to build partnerships between adults and young people, with young people taking significant leadership roles. If you are not used to engaging young people, you may want to get in touch with local youth development organizations, especially those that, like 4-H Clubs, YouthBuild sites, and National Network for Youth affiliates, have a track record of youth involvement and materials for supporting youth's development as leaders.