Increase digital inclusion in your community through a a unique multi-sector effort that brings together nonprofits, government, businesses, and academics. Spend Thursday, June 15th from 10:00-11:00 am with the Co-Chairs of the SF Tech Council. As part of the American Society’s webinar series, Anne Hinton, David Lindeman and Scott Mauvais will present an overview of the Tech Council, including its background, purpose, initiatives and upcoming plans. You can register here.
At the May 17th Tech Council meeting, members, guests and supporters gathered to explore strategic initiatives for
the Council over the next couple of years. Here are the meeting’s highlights:
Planning Ahead. Meeting participants discussed a multi-stakeholder Connectivity “+” (Plus) Campaign to advocate for and expand the availability of technology training, education, equipment and support for seniors and people with disabilities. In addition to addressing gaps and identifying innovative ideas in these areas, the discussion facilitated by Diane Krantz included the potential to strengthen the City’s aim to promote universal connectivity in San Francisco. Tech Council members will address project goals, challenges, design, outcomes, partners, leadership, and funding during June.
People + Moore’s Law + The Cloud. The meeting’s featured speaker was Gretchen Addi, formerly of IDEO and now a consultant and Designer-in-Residence at Aging2.0. Gretchen’s thought-provoking topic focused on the disconnect between the potential of technology to positively impact the lives of older adults and the culture lag in promoting and adopting technology by both businesses and consumers.
Digital Inclusion Week. Tech Council meeting participants celebrated SF Public Library’s amazing and successful Digital Inclusion Week! Over 1,500 people participated in the week’s events, attending 57 programs at 20 locations – the main library, branches and partner organizations. Twenty-two organizations staffed display tables at the Tech Expo. The library is looking forward to Digital Inclusion Week 2018!
And more … In other meeting activities, the Tech Council:
- Elected new member Kyra Geithman, Digital Content Manager with the SF Chamber of Commerce.
- Reviewed the presentation made by Nicole Bohn, Director of the Mayor’s Office on Disability, at the 5/4/17 Access & Learning Workgroup meeting. Nicole’s presentation, Technology and People with Disabilities: Resources, Rewards and Realities in San Francisco, provided a comprehensive overview of issues related to technology for people with disabilities. Following the presentation, the Workgroup discussed what the Tech Council can do to support the technology needs of people with disabilities. A panel on technology and disability is being planned for the July 19 Tech Council meeting.
The next full Tech Council is Wednesday, July 19th. Contact Tech Council Consultant, Susan Poor (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information.
Members of the Laguna Honda Hospital Computer Club are eager to share their digital art with other Hospital residents, visitors and hospital staff. The Computer Club has been a fixture at Laguna Honda for the past several years- exploring new software programs technologies and slowly recruiting new members.
While the group’s focus varies over the year, for several months this winter, Molly Hankwitz from the Community Living Campaign, led workshops on the MS Paint application. In February, the Hospital mounted an exhibition of their work.
In May, 14 artworks from that exhibit, as well as work from the Photovoice class offered by the Community Technology Network, migrated to the San Francisco Public Library as part of the Library’s show, Life Got Wider: Meanings Associated with Computer Use of Older Adults. The Library exhibit will on view in the Cafe Display Case (lower level) in the main branch of the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Laguna Honda Computer Club
Paul, a Hospital resident, founded the Laguna Honda Computer Club. He is an accomplished cartoonist and has made dozens of cartoons with his signature character, the “Wheelchair Quarterback.” Prior to his stroke in 2003, Paul kept busy on his home computer, but “after the stroke, after I moved into the Hospital, I had nothing to do.”
A sympathetic case manager gave Paul an old desktop computer and a VCR. “The computer gives me something to do; it’s how I access freedom,” he explained. “As long as there’s Google, I’m free. I’ve gone to the moon with Fred Flintstone. I can be in a petri dish. There’s no limit to what I can do with a computer.”
Paul wanted to share this sense of freedom with the other residents, and asked Marie Jobling from the Community Living Campaign to supply free laptops and an instructor for the new computer club. Marie agreed, and with the help of Judy Auda, also from CLC, they joined Paul in recruiting members.
They had hoped to attract 100 members, but a disappointed Paul explained, “The interest was just not there. Even when I told them to tell us what you enjoy and we’ll set up the apps on your computer, people just didn’t want to try something out of their comfort zone.”
Renewed Purpose through Digital Art
One of the newer members, Linda, attended her first Club meeting two years ago. Linda studied conceptual art design at San Francisco State University before she suffered a severe stroke. “I didn’t touch a computer for five years,” she said. “I spent a long time in my room by myself; a long time before I could do anything.”
Linda had always enjoyed collage and her great eye and appreciation for color found a natural outlet in Paint. Several months ago, Linda began repurposing an Ansel Adams calendar from 2010, adding a bright bird, a person or monument to the black and white images on her calendar.
Although her renewed sense of purpose cannot only be attributed to the computer class, Linda said, “I feel hopeful. I’m really blessed, I came back from a severe stroke and I can do things. Someday I may even walk.”
In addition to the Computer Club, CLC also sponsors an open computer lab. Judy Auda, who coordinates the SF Connected program for CLC, explained, “They come for learning and it’s a social thing. We bring out the computers; people stop by and ask questions. Sometimes they just come by to socialize, and that’s good too.” CLC Community Connectors Jennifer Walsh and Elizabeth Dunlap provide computer expertise and coordinate both the Club and the computer lab.
Chris McCarthy, VP of Strategy & Innovation at HopeLab and Executive Director of the Innovation & Learning Network, gave a great presentation on Kaiser Permanente’s work on aging in place innovation. To build an aging-in-place ecosystem, their findings highlighted the need to collaborate, create a community vision, eliminate silos, and become business savvy. Critical elements of Kaiser’s discovery process were human-centered design, incorporating a focus on social determinants of health, and understanding the barriers to aging in place – which usually are not medical.
Thinking about the future, the Council reviewed the 2016 Member Survey, helped identify concrete ideas for the Curry Senior Center and George Davis Center Discovery Projects, identified potential Tech Council speakers, and participated in a discussion led by Co-Chair Scott Mauvais on strategic initiatives the Tech Council is considering. More strategy discussion to come in May!
Access & Learning Workgroup Co-Chair Cathy Spensley reported on the Workgroup’s 4/6 meeting, which focused on challenges and barriers to digital access, training, equipment and tech support in public/nonprofit housing. At the 4/6 meeting, Mike Zaugg, Director of the DAAS Office on the Aging and Paulo Salta, DAAS Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Analyst, provided an update on SF Connected. Helen Hale, Director of Residential and Community Services, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, discussed how to improve and expand internet access at Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) sites. The Workgroup will continue to discuss this topic at its May meeting.
Wenwen Shi, Digital Inclusion Fellow at the SF Public Library, provided an update on Digital Inclusion Week, May 8-13. More than 50 programs are scheduled throughout the City! All DIW activities are FREE with lots of activities for older adults and people with disabilities, including movie screenings, hands-on classes, panel discussions, a tech expo, a week-long Learning for Action game and raffle and digital device give-aways. Be sure to check out the schedule and encourage people you know to attend!
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, May 17, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Twitter’s Neighborhood Nest, 95 Hayes St. between Polk and Larkin. Wine and cheese reception to follow from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Two new reports from the Pew Research Center provide insights into the digital divide for disabled and low-income Americans. Both reports – Disabled Americans are less likely to use technology and Digital divide persists even as lower-income American make gains in tech adoption – can be found on the Pew Research Center website through the links in this post.
The SF Tech Council: A Unique Multi-Stakeholder Approach To Digital Inclusion
San Francisco Tech Council Co-Chairs Anne Hinton, David Lindeman and Scott Mauvais delivered a thought-provoking overview of the SF Tech Council. They positioned its importance in the context of global aging trends, the importance of technology for older adults and people with disabilities and the growth of San Francisco’s aging population. They highlighted the Council’s four focus areas – access and learning, isolation, health and diversity – and emphasized how critical the Tech Council’s multi-sector, collaborative model is in solving digital divide problems that impact seniors and people with disabilities in the United States and other countries. Anne, David and Scott stressed the Council’s imperative to draw from its members’ vast range of connections, talent and knowledge. In its first two years, the Tech Council has worked diligently to understand and bring resources to community-based efforts utilizing technology to improve the lives of neighborhood residents.
Tech Council supporter Amber Carroll, Director of Senior Center Without Walls in San Francisco, commented that “the beautiful thing” about the Tech Council is that with so many stakeholders at the table, the Council can be a launching pad for new ideas, connections and initiatives. Co-Chair Anne Hinton concurred, saying that she has deep knowledge of many issues and is glad to know people to go to with questions; “I know there is a possibility that somebody knows something to help solve problems.”
Moving forward, the Tech Council will focus on achieving greater impact, developing more collaborative initiatives, recruiting additional members, securing diverse funding to achieve sustainability, and working to replicate the model throughout the country.
The Tech Council meetings are open and the next one is scheduled for Wednesday, April 19 from 4:00 to 6:00 followed by a networking reception at 825 Howard Street, home of the Independent Living Resource Center.
With the help of consultant support, they are looking to determine the role San Francisco government should play in making affordable internet available to all, and determining what else is important to assuring everyone who wants to is connected. Margaux Kelly from Supervisor Farrell’s Office (pictured left) provided an update and copies of the survey at the March Tech Council meeting and solicited our help in distributing and getting completed. Please see below for 1) links to the online surveys in all four languages and 2) downloadable paper surveys in all four languages.
Fill out the Survey On-line at the following links: English; Spanish; Filipino and Chinese
Or download and print a paper version to copy and share:
English Paper Survey
Spanish Paper Survey
Filipino Paper Survey
Chinese Paper Survey
Completed surveys can dropped off at or mailed to the CLC office, 1360 Mission Street, Suite 400, SF 94103 or delivered to Supervisor Farrell’s Office at City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 268, San Francisco, CA 94102. They hope to have most surveys completed by April 18th.
Please complete survey yourself today and help others to do so as soon as possible so that we and the people we work with are heard in this process.
Learn more about San Franciscans for Municipal Fiber on their website.
A growing number of assistive technology devices enable people with disabilities to “do the things they want to do, and live the lives they want to live.” At the Independent Living Resource Center of San Francisco (ILRCSF), you can stop by, try out the try out the latest technology, and, if you are an area resident, you can take it home free of charge for up to a month.
Try Assistive Technology Before You Buy It
“Try it before you buy it,” says Erin Lauridsen, the assistive technology educator at the ILRCSF Nick Feldman Device Lending Library. “Assistive technology devices can be expensive. You want to know something works for you before you spend money, otherwise it will just sit in a drawer. Try it, make sure it works for you. You may hear it’s a great item, but if it doesn’t work for you, it’s no good.”
When they’re not out on loan, many of the smaller items the Device Lending Library loans are stored in Erin’s office, a room packed with devices ranging from support canes and large print playing cards to tablets and laptops equipped with assistive technology software. The larger items are in a storeroom in the back of the building.
Visiting the Library can help you decide if a certain device is right for you, or help you find solutions you may not have considered:
- Because the market is small, assistive technology devices can be very expensive. It helps to make sure you’re ordering just the right thing.
- Many devices are only available online, so you don’t know how they might work before you place your order.
- The market changes quickly, with new items coming to market every day. Even if you don’t find what you need today, tomorrow may bring an answer.
Scheduling a Visit to the Lending Library
Erin strongly suggests you call her at 415-543-6222 or email email@example.com before visiting the office at 825 Howard Street. You don’t need a letter from your doctor or proof of disability. If you think the device might be helpful, Erin encourages you to borrow it and try it out at home. If it proves useful, then buy it. But not from ILRCSF; they offer a library, not a marketplace.
The Library does not carry durable medical equipment like wheelchairs or hearing aids. They also don’t carry obsolete items that can no longer be purchased.
Workshops and Other Resources at the Independent Living Resource Center
In addition to staffing the library, Erin offers workshops in the community where she shares devices as well as fact sheets on what’s covered under Medicare and MediCal, and how to find out what your insurance covers. These fact sheets and many other resources are available at the ILRC website, www.ilrcsf.org.
ILRCSF is a member of a statewide consortium of Independent Living Resource Centers, a program of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers. ILRCSF has produced numerous publications on various assistive technology options and serves as a clearinghouse for information on legislation on assistive technology.
The Nick Feldman Device Lending Library opened its doors in 2011. It is supported by the Department of Rehabilitation and private donors, and is part of the Assistive Technology Network/Ability Tools. The Lending Library loans about 100 items a year.
If there’s an everyday activity you wish you could do, contact Erin and visit the Library. There just could be an assistive technology solution that would enable you to get out and do it.
Highlights of the SF Tech Council’s March 15th Meeting
Featured speaker Valerie Coleman, lead staff on the Aging and Disability Friendly San Francisco initiative through the Department of Aging and Adult Services, sought the Tech Council’s input on the Information, Communication and Technology domain for the Action Plan that will be submitted the World Health Organization. Meeting attendees rolled up their sleeves for some rousing small group work, providing Valerie – in her words – with some “pretty fantastic results!” The Aging and Disability Friendly Task Force meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month in room 201 at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public. Her presentation is available here.
Margaux Kelly, Legislative Aide to Supervisor Mark Farrell, updated the Tech Council on Supervisor Farrell and former Supervisor Eric Mar’s San Franciscans for Municipal Fiber. The goal of the initiative is to ensure that all San Francisco businesses and residences have internet access at their home or business sites. The Supervisors are convening focus groups in March as well as an academic panel to look at critical infrastructure, business model and finance issues. Susan Poor is representing the SF Tech Council on one of these focus groups.
Kate Eppler, Director of The Bridge at Main, SF Public Library, showcased technology success stories on the Tech Story Project These moving and uplifting stories are critical to making the case for digital inclusion! To submit a story from your organization, contact Kate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wenwen Shi, Digital Inclusion Officer at the Library, provided an update on Digital Inclusion Week, being held May 8-13 at the main library, branch libraries and other settings. Digital Inclusion Week’s goal is to promote online access and technology skill-building to reduce digital disparities in San Francisco. All activities are FREE, with lots of activities for older adults and people with disabilities, including movie screenings, hands-on classes, panel discussions, a tech expo, a week-long Learning for Action game and raffle and digital device give-aways. Be sure to check out the schedule and encourage people you know to attend!
Tech Council Co-Chair Anne Hinton, Livable Communities Advisor with AARP California, led a provocative and i
nspiring discussion about the Council’s potential to help advance the impact of community organizations dealing with infrastructure, funding and technology challenges. This discussion emerged from the Tech Council’s “field trips” to Curry Senior Center in the Tenderloin and the George Davis Center in the Bayview. Tech Council members will continue the discussion at the April 19th
Colt Stander, Founder and CEO of Coach & Helper, and Andy and Luby Aczel, Founders and Directors of The Specialists Guild, were elected to the Tech Council. They have been active Tech Council supporters and we welcome them as new members.
NEXT MEETING: Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Wine & Cheese Reception: 6:00-7:00 p.m.
Independent Living Resource Center, 825 Howard Street
If you are interested in attending, contact Tech Council Consultant Susan Poor at email@example.com
Roger Undersell has embarked on a new venture – creating a digital time capsule to organize and share his stories. He has led a full life: photographer, film maker, sound artist, plus supervisor of the volleyball courts at the UCSF Fitness & Recreation Centers. With help from Molly Hankwitz, a computer instructor with the Community Living Campaign, Roger is using The History Project to share his story.
A Modern Time Capsule
Niles Lichtenstein, co-founder of The History Project, was 13 when his father died, too young to really know him. The full impact of that loss hit Niles when he entered college. So Niles set about reconstructing his father’s past — collecting the vinyl records he loved and asking his father’s friends for stories of their shared past.
But when he tried to tell his father’s story, these disparate stories and artifacts didn’t convey the richness of the man and his times, they remained simply unrelated objects. There had to be a better way to help you remember the history that matters. Thus began the work of developing The History Project, or what Niles calls a “modern time capsule.”
Computer Technology Provides More Options for Storytelling
Roger Underhill is not trying to capture his parents’ story; he wants to tell his own. “People always seem to enjoy stories of my more interesting experiences, so I started writing them down a few years ago to be able to share them more widely. Computer technology provides more options now.” Inspired by a talk by a memoir writer at the San Francisco Irish Center, Roger began thinking about how he could tie these stories together.
After meeting Molly at the I.T. Bookman Community Center and hearing about The History Project, Roger was hooked. Here was a way to tell his story.
With so much material and so many stories, the process can take time. Roger and Molly have been meeting now for five months. Together, they have narrowed the focus, developed an outline, downloaded and transferred photos and files. It helps that Roger had a background in photography, sound and film, that he knows how to edit, and that he’s saved cartons of material.
Once all of this material “starts to congeal, and, as it becomes more of a memoir, I would think about sharing the project beyond family and friends. I’ve done lots of things I’ve dreamed of doing, and beyond, and I think others can too, and be inspired,” Roger said.
Share Your Own Stories
“We all have a lot of stories. The History Project gets you to focus on an episode, a segment in your life,” Molly said. It helps to have photographs, video and audio files, or be willing to search them out. There’s some writing involved too. It all takes time, effort and focus.
“We’re looking for seniors interested in doing individual projects. More people like Roger.” Molly said.
For more information about The History Project, email Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org. History Projects can continue to grow and evolve, and can include one person or many; for an example of a growing project with multiple contributors, see Community Living Campaign’s History Project.
The History Project class at IT Bookman is part of the SF Connected program funded by the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services. For computer classes in other neighborhoods, see the CLC Calendar. Community Technology Network, Self Help for the Elderly, Lighthouse for the Blind, and Conard House also offer computer training and classes through SF Connected. To see a calendar of all free classes, or for more information, visit www.sfconnected.org.