|San Francisco, CA—Lee Harrison, resident services coordinator at the Bayview Computer Learning Center, says he witnessed a "blossoming" of creativity and self-esteem in the residents who participated in the digital storytelling project sponsored by the Alliance for Technology Access (ATA).
"The residents were truly inspired as they discovered their own ability to harness technology to tell their story and share something of significant importance in their lives," says Harrison, adding that personal involvement in the project opened a door to expression and creativity that he had not experienced in years.
ATA, a Neighborhood Networks national partner, sponsors digital storytelling projects for Neighborhood Networks centers and consortia, giving residents an opportunity to tell compelling stories using technology tools. Digital stories generally consist of text, voices, and images that combine to form multimedia representations of personal experiences and perspectives.
Empowering Residents to Engage Fully in Their Communities
ATA, a growing national network of technology resource centers, organizations, individuals, and companies, is helping to ensure that Neighborhood Networks centers are empowering people with disabilities to participate fully in their communities. ATA ultimately hopes to provide people with disabilities the tools they need to lead independent and autonomous lives.
ATA's Community Technology Centers work with Neighborhood Networks centers and consortia across the country to:
Increasing Center Accessibility for All Residents
| ||Offer demonstrations, resources, publications, tools, and trainings designed to increase technology access for people with disabilities.|
| ||Create digital storytelling opportunities for residents.|
| ||Provide access to experts in assistive technology. |
ATA also organized a Webinar/Live Classroom Workshop for Neighborhood Networks center staff interested in increasing their centers' accessibility for people with disabilities. The workshop highlighted how Neighborhood Networks centers can be more accessible to people with disabilities by installing grab bars in the bathrooms, building ramps, and adding Braille to elevator signs.
Centers can also communicate more effectively by providing large print and Braille editions of their publications for the visually impaired, and by using teletypewriters and speech-to-speech relay systems for the hearing/speech impaired.
For people who have difficulties using a standard keyboard, centers can make their computers more accessible through their operating systems. Computers have "Accessibility Options" that can be adjusted, and word processing is possible through voice recognition.
In partnership with Neighborhood Networks centers and consortia, ATA is increasing technology access and creating more opportunities for residents with disabilities.
"It was amazing to see how the digital storytelling project helped residents grow and tap into their own unique talents and abilities," Harrison says. "That's what technology access is all about."