Midtown Wednesdays: Starting Early with IT for Kids

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Thu, 02/16/2006 - 00:48.

To begin, this week's session includes several updates and quick takes of information.

Rich Brhel, Dir. of Library, Myers University, reminds us of Myers' historical place in Cleveland history since 1848. Rich continues and provides a quick clip about the Ohio Memory Project a cool repository of Cleveland history.

Dennis Coughlin describes I-Open's mission to build collaborative networks to transform our region. He shares his experience and working knowledge of the InFlow software and I-Open's and the community's application of it to produce Midtown Innovation Zone maps. Dennis is becoming a resource for others who map open economic networks. I-Open has developed a process to build trust to accelerate the formation of these networks. We tell the story of the I-Open Innovation Framework, a strategy map developed by Ed Morrison, I-Open.

William Holdipp gives the basics about the Consortium of African American Organizations (CAAO), its history, services to members and the awesome connecting that happens for CAAO members and others who connect to CAAO.

At every forum we ask attendees to fill out a simple survey that will supply the data for our Midtown Innovation Network Map. (We'll be posting it here soon...) We look at one of the nodes which represents an individual attendee. The degree of connectivity is a visual display of knowledge and ultimately, opportunity and innovation .

Willard Brown, President, Black Data Processing Association (BDPA) and a founder of CAAO, continues. Williard's day job is as a technology officer at National City Bank. BDPA has 55 chapters in the US. Dell is one of the major sponsors and has built the tech lab facility at Case. BDPA provides student information technology education for ages 11 to 17. The program offers kids working world experience in technology. The trainers are local industry who provide real application situations to build their education and a future career. The program goes from Feb through Aug. The organization hosts a state competition and participates in a national competition. Employers provide a problem and the kids need to create a program - data base script - to solve the challenge. The Sites program provides skill sets for kids from current employers. This is a good example of closing the gap between education and current workforce requirements. The sponsoring industries maintain a closeworking relationship with BDPA. This year's materials focus on .NET systems. The kids naturally gravitate toward the different aspects of technology - from software to hardware. The national conferences take the kids on tours of major IT companies.

[Today's audience has a nice mixture of lots of different people: artists, IT, government, entrepreneurs, legal, advocates]

Ted Jordan, JordanTeam Learning LLC, tells us about creating Kids Funutation with the help of BDPA and running the test program in Beachwood 2 years ago. The Beachwood High School hosts the program. The goal is to get the kids even more motivated about technology. Kids start with the source code of Pong, for example. Ted is looking for counselors and sponsors and places to go for field trips for the program. A new pilot initiative starting in April will leverage long distance learning with Michigan. In other classes, kids are taught source code - and once they realize the capacity for creating never ending lives of characters and other powerful effects - source code is no longer inconsequential but the gotta' know piece! Ted has been connected with several organizations who have helped him to get started, such as CAAO & I-Open.

Audience suggestions and offers to contribute to building innovation in Midtown: contact local neighborhood centers; NASA has a similar program; Nine Sigma connects innovation networks to solve industrial challenges. We'll have a meeting on a Saturday morning in the next week or so at the Midtown Innovation Center with anyone who wants to plan next steps. After forum discussions: connecting with the Midtown neighborhood community centers, starting a gaming competition lab, creating a committee to advise on criteria for creating innovation zones.

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CAAO Orientation and Networking Session

Are you interested in learning about all the benefits CAAO has for its members? If yes, you should attend the CAAO Orientation and Network Session on Thursday, March 2, 2006, 5:30 PM until 7:00 PM at the CAAO office (Midtown Innovation Center, 4415 Euclid Ave., Suite 201). At this event, you will learn about the:

- History of CAAO
- CAAO's Mission
- Benefits CAAO gives to individuals.
- Benefits CAAO gives to its member organizations
- CAAO programs
- How to effectively utilize the CAAO website.
- Meet CAAO Staff
- and more

Who should attend:

- CAAO members who want to know all their member benefits
- Leaders of CAAO member organizations
- People interested in learning how to become a CAAO member.
- Community organizations that are interested in working with CAAO.
- Membership chair of CAAO member organizations who are interested in recruiting additional members.

This is a free event and refreshments will be served.

Seating is limited to the first 60 people who RSVP.
Please RSVP by February 28, 2006 by sending a return email to caao_cleveland [at] yahoo [dot] com