The last goal of the MMC is to promote community and public awareness projects through the use of technology. Similar to the recently grant funded program in Boston, the MMC would focus on issues pertinent to Duval County, from hurricane preparedness to public health issues, and use technological tools to educate students. Weave or Xerte are free software used to build interactive and informative content. Another important area is digital literacy including issues of online privacy. Our LMS professionals will create effective workshops targeted specifically to High School students in an effort to create a community of digital literate students. Some of the programs at the MMC will model themselves after examples from the DC Public Library and the Watertown Free Public Library, in hopes to inform teens about their privacy rights and what they can do to secure those rights. Installing the Tor browser on our computers will be a great usable example for students and they will be encouraged to share this information with friends and family members.
Recently the National Institute of Health awarded researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell a grant to work in Boston’s Chinatown on educating residents about the dangers of air pollution. As the Chinatown neighborhood is close to major highways, they suffer from poor air quality, but many of it’s residents are unaware of the dangers and how they can protect themselves. Researchers are using the open data visualization tool Weave to produce an interactive teaching tool, focusing on educating local teens about the issues with air pollution in hopes that they will go home and spread this knowledge to their family members who might not have the technological access or English language skills to educate themselves on these issues.
Allison Macrina, an IT librarian for the Watertown Free Public Library, is working to educate patrons about issues of digital privacy and how to ensure privacy while online. She has installed the Tor browser on their computers, in addition to privacy extensions for Firefox, and instructs patrons about these issues by hosting workshops. These privacy issues are paramount for teens who are now born into the digital world and teaching these issues in high school will greatly benefit students before they go to college or enter the workforce.
66 years after George Orwell published 1984, the DC Public Library hosted a series of movie screenings, workshops and panel discussions titled Orwellian America? Government Transparency and Personal Privacy in the Digital Age. They hoped to inform the public about issues surrounding online privacy especially relating to government spying. These are issues that are of utmost importance to teach all Americans and the MMC is a great opportunity to in form high schoolers about these issues.
Image Credit: boingboing.net, DC Public Library