Digital Advantage – What is it?:
The Digital Advantage is our solution to a socioeconomic problem called the Digital Divide. This issue has also gone by other names, such as the digital gap or homework gap. This is a problem of access, where people cannot access Internet connectivity, a suitable device, or the training to best utilize either of these things once they do have them. These problems can have an assortment of causes relating to but not limited to availability, accessibility, affordability, to even simple awareness or education.
Oak Hill Collaborative believes that if we can identify more opportunities to cheaper home Internet, bring better connectivity to the valley, promote the redistribution of heavily discounted computers, and continue to put on computer classes for a wide range of ages and backgrounds – that we can hone a “digital advantage” – making every citizen confident in their ability to utilize a computer for work, school, home life, and furthermore success and a better quality of living. To accomplish this – we have three goals in mind.
Goal One | Reduce Cost of Internet
Speak on the committees that matter – and get internet to those who need it most
Youngstown has the most Internet access in Ohio around 95% coverage, however less than half of Youngstown’s residents do not have home Internet. Our goal is to identify the cause of these figures, and remedy the issues associated.
What is our plan?
- Continue to collaborate with the Eastgate Council of Governments to address the Digital Divide.
- Promote the Federal Stimulus Program Affordable Connectivity Program (originally known as Emergency Broadband Benefit) to reduce the cost of Internet by $30 – on any internet plan, any provider, no obligation required.
- Grass root survey of issues regarding internet plans, computer usage, etc.
- Offer consultation on broader survey reports done by affiliated organizations.
- Monitor and be active on National Digital Inclusion Association forums.
- Monitor activity of local available ISPs and report dubious behavior
- Creating a connected community via:
- Collaboration with other communities to take advantage of increased opportunities in an increasingly computerized world.
- Provide publicly accessibly Wi-Fi at our facility
- Distribute “mobile hot-spots” to supplement local coverage
- Build networks and partnerships with state and federal technology firms
Goal Two | Increase Technology Access
Internet is useless without a conduit – and that conduit is technology!
As was the case with the homework gap, most computer access many kids get is their parent’s smartphones. We’re hoping to change that by raising awareness of low-cost solutions and assisting in getting computers to those who need them.
What are we doing?
- Keeping our Makerspace open and available, which has an audio-visual studio, a 3D printing lab, a fully stocked computer lab, a robotics Makerspace, and a CNC router
- Raising awareness of non-profit organizations focused on refurbishing and redistributing low-cost computers, recycling what can’t be reused.
- As a part of the Affordable Connectivity Program, we’re informing the community that computers can be purchased online at a $100 discount with the inclusion of a wireless hotspot
- In addition to this, we’re navigating them through the Affordable Connectivity Program enrollment process.
Raspberry Pi Afterschool Program
- Starting in 2016, we began to send YSU student instructors to local Youngstown Schools to teach basic computer science.
- During this class, they build, program, and learn how to use a computer.
- At the end of this six-week program, every kid gets to take home their Raspberry Pi Computer!
Pictured: Multimedia Lab
Pictured: 3D Printing Lab
Pictured: CNC and Tooling Area
Goal Three | Educate and Inform
Spread digital skills in a way that educates, informs, increases awareness, and promotes the digital well being of everyone
The final stretch with the Digital Divide is putting the leg work in to improve the general skill-set of a wide variety of people with numerous backgrounds. Acknowledging the different starting points, we deliver a wide curriculum of classes for free either by ourselves or in collaboration with other organizations.
Classes We Currently Offer:
- Intro to Zoom
- Intermediate Zoom for Small Business
- Learning Bible Apps with Olive Tree
- Making Mobile Multimedia
- Keeping Safe in Cyberspace
- Remote Health with Mercy Health
- Basic Business Accounting
- Social Media for Small Business
- Intermediate Social Media for Small Business
- Computer Basics: Intro to Personal Computers
- Computer Basics: Intro to Windows 10
- Computer Basics: Intro to Microsoft Word 2016
- Raspberry Pi After School (with Success After Six)
- Raspberry Pi After School Online
Classes Already Taught:
- Raspberry Pi After School (over 20 courses taught, 200+ students)
- Social Media for Small Businesses
- 3D Printing
- Introductory Computer Education (basics)
- Website Development
- Drone Operation/FAA Licensure
Classes Planned for the Future:
- Video Game Development
- Introductory Computer Education (bilingual) (basic)
- Music Production/Editing
- 3D Printing
- Social Media (including YouTube)
- Website Search Engine Optimization
Explore our Digital Advantage Experience Today!
Mahoning Valley Digital Inclusion Working Group, Mahoning County Board of Commissioners, Eastgate Development COG, Western Reserve Port Authority, Youngstown Foundation, St. Patrick’s Parish, ACTION, Youngstown State University, SCORE, Oak Hill Robotics Makerspace, KO Consulting, United Way Success After Six, NDIA, South Side Academy, Premier Bank, Connected Nation, The City of Youngstown