June 2012
Dear Digital Inclusion Supporter,

This month, we are featuring the innovative and inspiring work of the Special Technology Access Resource (STAR) Center in Seattle. The STAR Center uses assistive technology to serve and train clients with varying abilities. 


In eastern Washington, the Kalispel Tribal Court is also using innovative technology in its public justice and computing centers in Spokane and Pend Oreille counties. On June 26, an event will be held to celebrate the success of the videoconferencing system at the Kalispel Tribal Court. Along with Kalispel Tribal Court staff, representatives from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will attend via Skype, and representatives from state and local government will participate in the celebration.


The Kalispel Tribal Court designed and implemented a videoconferencing system in October 2011 at their Cusick and Airway Heights Courthouses. The system facilitates off-site court participation for hearings via videoconference. The Kalispel Tribal Court and the Chelan County Courthouse are two of the public justice and law computing center sites, receiving funding from the Communities Connect Network Project. A detailed article and photos of the event will be featured in the July newsletter. The event press release is available here.

In This Issue
Spotlight On
What's New in the Communities Connect Network
Spotlight On...
Special Technology Access Resource Center


The Special Technology Access Resource (STAR) Center opened its doors in Seattle in 1999, benefiting from the hard work and dedication of the residents of Center Park, the Seattle Housing Authority, and individuals active in the accessibility community. The STAR Center's mission is to empower people of widely varying abilities and disabilities to build community using computers, the Internet, and assistive technology.


Today, because of funding from the CCNP's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, the STAR Center has state-of-the-art equipment and software to serve the diverse needs of its users. According to Executive Director Oscar Escalante, the STAR Center meets the individual needs of each client by determining what he or she can currently do with technology and adds skills gradually on a case-by-case basis. In past years, the STAR Center served an average of 150 clients with assistive technology. From January to June, the STAR Center has already served 142 clients this year.

STAR staff and volunteers
In the STAR Center Technology Lab. Left to Right: Thomas Ross, Assistive Technology Specialist; 
Oscar Escalante, Executive Director; Galia Dadiomova, Technology Training Coordinator; 
and June Rhotan, Executive Assistant.

Thomas Ross, the STAR Center's Assistive Technology Specialist, provides one-on-one support to clients to facilitate their use of assistive technology, such as the JAWS screen-reading or Dragon Naturally Speaking speech recognition software. Additionally, the STAR Center provides Word Cue (predictive software for users with language acquisition difficulties) and Zoomtext (screen enlargement software for users with low vision), among many other assistive software titles. Galia Dadiomova, Technology Training Coordinator, teaches a variety of classes ranging from E-mail 101 to Microsoft Excel. Clients at the STAR Center benefit from a dedicated, informed staff with a well-rounded approach to assistive technology and skill development. 


To find out more about the STAR Center, visit the Network Directory Page.

What's New in the Communities Connect Network

Denny Terrace 3rd Annual Computer Lab Celebration


On June 12, CCNP subrecipient Denny Terrace held their annual celebration to mark another year of successfully implementing new programming and acquiring new equipment. The celebration was hosted by the all-volunteer Denny Terrace Computer Lab Committee and Mike Pollack, the Grant Program Administrator. Larry Wisdom, a lab volunteer and technology instructor, distributed certificates to attendees who completed courses in basic and intermediate computer skills, as well as multimedia courses such as digital photography. CCNP Outreach Coordinator Amy Hirotaka accepted a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the EdLab Group. Attendees enjoyed refreshments and viewed an entertaining video about the Denny Terrace computer lab created by Larry Wisdom. 
Larry Wisdom
Volunteer Larry Wisdom receives a Certificate of Completion and a Certificate of Appreciation.
SDK Bridge Hosts Game Design Training Workshops


SDK Bridge's Youth Technology Program works to expose teenagers to the most current technology to help them see the possibilities of a career in the field. They combine cultural knowledge and competency with technology to help youth from underrepresented groups see the technology industry as a place where they belong. 


SDK Bridge will lead game design and programming workshops in Seattle and Yakima this summer. Peter Gruenbaum, President of SDK Bridge, will provide training for CCNP subrecipient staff and volunteers at partial-day sessions. The train-the-trainer model builds the capacity of workshop attendees to host youth technology courses at their public computing centers. 


In the Game Design workshop, students learn to design simple 3D video games using Kodu from Microsoft. Kodu is a drag-and-drop game engine that allows students to build a variety of computer games, such as racing, shooting, mazes, and tower defense. Students create lists of behaviors for characters that result in a game.


In the Game Programming workshop, students learn to create simple 2D video games using Scratch from MIT. Scratch is a drag-and-drop programming language that teaches the basic concepts of programming, such as loops, if-then structures, and variables. A large variety of games can be created using Scratch.


Digital Literacy and Non-Profit Technology


Social Media for Nonprofits

Hosting conferences across the country each year, Social Media for Nonprofits also has a blog with guest posts from thought-leaders in the non-profit technology world. 

Not just a resource for discounted software and hardware, TechSoup also has a

learning center full of webinars, trainings, curriculum, and more -- all promoting digital literacy. 

Causality offers full and matching service grants to help non-profits and good causes access branding, marketing and interactive services at no or low cost.

Washington State's Library Blog, offering content from staff spotlights to state and national broadband and digital inclusion policy updates.


School's Out Washington

Intermediary organization dedicated to creating quality after-school and youth development programs through training and leadership development.


Broadband Adoption


OneCommunity drives economic development by providing affordable, robust broadband technologies and related programs that accelerate the use of IT to transform health, education, workforce, and government. View a list of their reports.


Craig Settles

Industry analyst and speaker with valuable knowledge about executing effective broadband strategies. Follow him on Twitter


Digital Communities 

Focuses on encouraging collaboration and creating productive relationships among cities, counties, regions and private sector companies positioned to help improve the delivery of public service. 


Total Telecom

Communications link between end users and the vendors, carriers, and resellers of telecommunications technology and services.  

About CCN
Mission: Communities Connect Network (CCN) works to ensure digital inclusion and technology opportunities for all residents of Washington State.

For more information about Communities Connect Network (CCN), please contact Leslie Rae Schmitz, Senior Project Director for Digital Inclusion at lschmitz@edlabgroup.org or 425.477.4741 x 4778.

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About the EdLab Group
EdLab Group

The EdLab Group is a private, non-profit organization with funding from federal and state governments, private foundations, corporations, and individuals. Our mission is to leverage the power of technology and diversity to transform teaching and learning.


We respect your privacy and do not sell, share or allow our list to be viewed by other individuals or companies.


For more information about the EdLab Group, visit our website at www.edlabgroup.org.

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