Wilderness Technology Alliance – 2017 & 2018 Impacts
In 2017 we provided over $120,000 in program value to individuals through our Silver Spring refurbishing center including processing over 700 donated computers, training 21 low income or unemployed volunteers, and providing technology to needy individuals.
Provided over $90,000 in program value to students and schools, including: $29 laptops for students; free technology, teacher training, and computer labs for three Archdiocese of Washington Schools, 12 DC Charter Schools, and five Tanzania schools; and prepared six Tanzania schools and three partners to implement the WildTech-like programs in Tanzania.
Provided over $60,000 in program value to the CCNV shelter including refurbishing the training center, providing a new 24-station technology access lab, providing two file servers with networking, training 145 residents, free computers for 72 residents, and supporting resume and job searching by 61 residents.
In 2018 our programs have branched out substantially. We are now partnering with Central Union Mission to provide technology training with free computers for the the homeless at both their downtown shelter at at their Bladensburg family distribution center in Northeast DC. We also opened our new Washington DC office at 1200 18th Street NW, make possible through a partnership with the VETS-Group.
We are also now partnering with Our-House in Olney, a center that provides rehabilitative services for disadvantaged youth. The WTA delivered a 16 session Cisco Academy (IT Essentials) including Cisco Certification for participants. We are now embarking on a project in partnership with the US military Special Forces to provide foundational character skills in the wilderness followed by computer training, and work-based learning.
In 2018 we are expanding our support of DC-area schools serving low-income populations. In July of 2018 alone, 18 new schools will receive free technology (mainly laptop computers) fully refurbished, licensed, delivered and warranted by the WTA.
The WTA is working on systems to improve the re-deployment of federal surplus technology to low-income groups. We are meeting with the staff of Senator Warner (D-VA) and the leaders of GSA’s Computers for Learning to support re-deployment. We also helped to create and lead the new Association for Technology Refurbishing and Reuse (www.aftrr.org) whose mission is advance the redeployment of used technology and training to the disadvantaged. Finally, we met with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) to support the WildTech model of Wilderness character education without cultural bias or prejudice as a possible model to address youth violence in schools.
WildTech Student Enterprises – The WTA’s Flagship Program
A Self-Sustaining Pathway to Technology Employment & Entrepreneurhip
WildTech is a comprehensive, self-sustaining program in secondary and vocational schools that improves student learning, increases employment and creates technology entrepreneurship – all through technology training, work-based learning, and linkages to real market opportunities. It involves partnerships the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Trade, major technology firms, and the WTA. During WildTech’s 20 years of development, both in the USA and developing world, we learned that intensive character and leadership training, combined with technology and entrepreneurship training, creates a unique bonding and skill-set that enables youth to gain employment and to launch successful technology companies. The partnership establishes a low-cost, self-sustaining, self-replicating “virtuous cycle” that leads to nationwide transformation.
|Each school gets a 20-station computer lab with printer, LAN, and projector|
|Teacher & Student-Aid Training Program to Implement New ICT Curriculum|
|Schools Implement a Digital Literacy Curriculum during the first semester and the Business & ICT vocational skills curricula below in second semester|
|Business Skills Training1 Semester(Required)||ICT Voc. Training: IT EssentialsCisco & A+ Cert.(Optional)||ICT Voc. Training: Android App Dev.Certification TBD.(Optional)||ICT Voc. Training MultimediaCertification TBD(Optional)|
|Trained Students Start School-Based Student-Run Tech Companies, applying skills from ICT vocational classes to work-based Learning, producing and selling valuable technology products and services:· Selling & Servicing Computers, Tables, Mobile Phones and More· Training Services: Intro to Computers, Excel, Word, PPT, Internet, More· Digital Video Production, Web Design, DeskTop Publishing, Video· Android Application Development|
The training phase begins with 5-7 schools, expanding to 15-21 schools in the second year. The program triples in size annually (see right).
- Computer Labs provided to schools (June)
- Teacher/student teams created and trained to deliver digital literacy curriculum (July)
- Schools Implement Digital Lit. Class
- Teacher/student teams trained to implement three ICT Vocational Curricula: Computer Sales & Service, Multimedia (web, video, desktop publishing), Android App development (Nov)
- Implement ICT Vocational Classes leading to industry standard ICT skills certifications.
Armed with these skills, a self-sustaining “virtuous cycle” (see diagram) is ignited: “Trained Students” establish student-run companies in their schools to produce “Needed Products & Services” for their communities, which are then sold to “Customers” which generates resources to train more students, and the cycle repeats and grows. In the process, youth gain work-based learning skills in technology, marketing, accounting, leadership and more. Experienced youth become qualified as teachers (student-aids) in the next Cycle. Thus, WildTech generates the resources needed to sustain and grow: teachers (student aids) and revenue, making it viral and eventually transforming entire nations.
Besides the elements above, the program implements programs and events benefitting the targeted schools and the entire nation. Often, these address larger, nationwide issues that are too difficult for students and even schools to impact. This includes a web-based “Employment Portal”, a comprehensive job matching, contract matching, on-line learning, mentor matching and program information portal used by employers, job seekers and work contract seekers. It also includes an annual national policy summit to raise awareness and address issues on youth employment, as well as national/regional job summits to help youth secure jobs and contracts for school-based student-run companies.
Armed with technology, business, life skills, certifications and experience, youth graduate and quickly gain employment or start their own technology companies. Teachers and experienced student leaders from multiple school-based student-run enterprises eventually create a Career and Technology Student Organization (CTSO) that operates as a business franchise sharing best practices, policies and procedures – creating a distribution channel serving customers worldwide
International Economic Partnerships (IEP)
The United Nations recently identified that improving education and economic development are the two most significant factors in increasing child well-being. In a 2010 report, the World Bank identified that “ICT is the foundation of a knowledge-based world. It allows economies to acquire and share ideas, expertise, services, and technologies locally, regionally, and across the world. It also contributes to making the global economy more integrated than ever before.” Technology and the Internet also provide the ability for youth in USA schools to collaborate directly with youth in indigenous communities, creating unique learning opportunities and economic relationships that leverage the resources of both. It also helps address America’s and the developing world’s most pressing problem in education: Learning that is motivating and relevant to the 21st century economy – which must include international engagements.
International Economic Partnerships (IEP) is an education and economic development program that can be customized for students of all ages. The program utilizes constructivist methods and action learning by delivering training “just in time” during authentic project work, and “beginning with end” by challenging students at the very outset to:
- create an international business venture together with an indigenous community in East Africa,
- based on fair trade principals that leverages the unique resources of both,
- that generates an income for the school, the students, and the indigenous community so it self-sustains.
The program then deconstructs and delivers the learning needed achieve this. The business venture involves importing and selling indigenous Maasai jewelry, and optionally, exporting and selling surplus USA technology. Profits are shared in a fair-trade fashion between the USA school and the indigenous community or school that serves them.
- Social studies including a historical and cultural understanding of the Maasai and the challenges they face, as well as a political understanding of East Africa, government policies, and potential corruption issues they may need to address.
- Geography including the location, climate, infrastructure and natural resources to better understand the context and challenges with shipping.
- Mathematics focusing on business math including financial statements, break even analysis, balancing a checking account, and spreadsheets.
- Technology skills needed to market and operate a social venture, including digital video creation (Windows Movie Maker, Paint.net & Audacity), desktop publishing (MS Publisher), and Web Design (Word Press). Note: Students should ideally have basic proficiency in MS Office applications and MS Windows.
- Business, leadership, entrepreneurship skills needed to create and operate a business venture.
The WTA is currently collaborating with the White House and their “My Brother’s Keeper” program to pilot International Economic Partnerships” (IEP) in Detroit, Spokane, and Washington DC schools beginning in September of 2016. The WTA is now developing the IEP curriculum in partnership with a Washington DC area school, which will be completed by the summer of 2016. It utilizes 21st century pedagogy including rich media, Skype, MOOC, NCSS and Common Core standards, and optional youth trips to Africa.