I Have a Tech Dream – Los Angeles
College Affiliation: Merrill College
Graduation Date: June 2018
Project Date: July 19-21
Partner Org: I Have a Dream LA
Partner Website: ihadla.org
Technologies Used: Laptops, Internet, Slack, Canva, Pixlr, TextWrangler, WordPress, NameCheap , Lithium Hosting
Project Themes: Education, Technology Accessibility, Intergenerational Poverty
People Served Directly: Staff of the I Have A Dream Foundation Los Angeles
Community Served Indirectly: Impoverished students in Los Angeles. Expanding on the staff’s training means they have more tools for providing their students with resources, opportunities, and funding that they can further use for their benefit.
Students in impoverished communities often lack the resources and opportunities that are necessary to graduate on time. According to the California Department of Education Database, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) alone accounts for 12% of California’s total high school dropouts, the total number of state dropouts being 7,699 students. We collaborated with the staff of the I Have a Dream Foundation in Los Angeles (IHADLA) and together we identified specific areas of technology that they feel would be most beneficial to promoting the organization’s proficiency. IHADLA is tackling the roots of poverty by providing underprivileged students with the holistic and qualitative educational support that they need to graduate. Graduation rates for Dreamers is 25% higher than the rest of the district (IHADLA, 2013). Their main goal is to end intergenerational cycles of poverty and uplift these students whom they call Dreamers. We went to the organization’s executive office and taught three workshops. The first was on social media, networking and communication resources. The second workshop focused on an amalgamation of useful open source resources and graphic design. The final one was all about understanding HTML coding and web design. By helping to expand IHADLA’s technological capacities we gave them tools to more effectively reach potential funders and further promote their cause, in addition to helping them make more valuable networking connections. This can all indirectly benefit the students they serve by expanding the resources available to them and having the staff be more knowledgeable of other tech Dreamers may have questions about.
We had thirteen people attend our three day workshops. We had the executive office staff in addition to all three program staff that work directly with the Dreamers. All of our attendees can be seen at ihadla.org under “Who We Are”. We based a lot of our material off of what we were introduced to during our Thursday tech labs with the Everett program. We mostly borrowed from the graphic design, web design and social media labs. Having the background knowledge and resources for these topics was a major help, and prevented us from having to “reinvent the wheel” . The most rewarding part of our project was having people ask specific questions about what we taught. Seeing people genuinely interested in the topics we talked about made all of the hard work worthwhile. The most challenging part wasn’t designing our workshops but rather figuring out the difference between teaching something and presenting something. We quickly learned that they are not the same although they go hand in hand. By hosting these workshops we gained a deeper understanding of the technological applications we taught. And although our workshops didn’t explain all there is to know about technology , we feel that they certainly opened at least a few doors for the staff and the organization. It’s been a truly gratifying experience that we would love to repeat in some shape or form. We’re still waiting on pictures from our organization but here is a picture of the hands on coding exercise and of our website, techdreamin.site.