Vanishing bandwidth

Superintendent Silva’s decision last spring to provide every Saint Paul Public School student with an iPad in two years has not proven to be a seamless transition for SPPS staff and students. For those students who have received iPads it sometimes takes several minutes for web pages to load on their devices. Quite often the students are unable to download apps due to a dearth of bandwidth available to the devices. The network remains sluggish and iPads often lose their IP Addresses that allow them to access the network and the Internet. This generally means the iPads need to be restarted in hopes that the devices will be able to connect to the district network after they restart. Continue Reading

Girls explore creative coding at Katie DoJo

Since my return from the Code for America 2014 Summit I have replayed – virtually and literally – the images of the presenters. One image keeps recurring – the image of creative young women working with users to craft techie tools that solve real-life human needs. For so many of these young women the story was not so much about the tool but about the ways in which the app improved someone’s life. That implicit purpose seemed uniquely explicit in the presentations of dozens of young female coders. Continue Reading

Code + Collaboration: Open government is greater than the sum of its parts

The challenge of genuine, sustained, respectful collaboration, both the hope and the life blood of the information age, fascinates me. Over time I have learned to value viable collaboration and to celebrate the power of a diverse community of human beings who share the serious work it takes to identify, then achieve, a common purpose. I understand that collaboration is organic. More important, I appreciate that, while people and organizations will pay for goods and services, no one wants to pay for collaboration. Continue Reading

CTEP member Hnou Vang teaches Me Mar, a Karenni refugee. (Photo by Lisa Peterson-de la Cueva)

ST. PAUL NOTES | CTEP: Mending chairs and relationships

With six “very old” chairs, the elderly woman knew she needed some repairs. Trying out her new computer skills, she put “chair repair” into Google, and saw several repair shops within easy driving distance — and a website called “how to repair chairs.” And, she proudly told her Computer Club friends, she followed the directions and fixed all the chairs herself!The Computer Club for Seniors at Episcopal Homes in St. Paul was just one of the projects that this year’s CTEP members dreamed, planned and implemented. CTEP stands for the AmeriCorps Community Technology Empowerment Program of SPNN. Continue Reading