Grant targets digital divide
- By Brian Robinson
- Oct 29, 2001
The Science Museum of Virginia earlier this month was awarded a federal
grant of $284,000 to help it bridge the digital divide in Richmond, the
The money will pay for a program — called the AEIOU (Access, Equity,
Innovation, Opportunity and Ubiquity) Community Technology Centers Project
— that will use both fixed and mobile means to get computers into disadvantaged
areas, according to Walter Witschey, the museum's director.
The Blackwell Community Center on the south side of the city will house
a technology center for the local community, and the museum will develop
a mobile technology center to travel to various locations to offer computer-based
after-school programs and adult training.
"Children will be introduced to the use of computers through such things
as English and science achievement programs," Witschey said, "while adults
will use computers for workforce training, and to acquire extra skills that
will help them deal with life in the digital age."
While it might seem a little unusual to choose the Science Museum to
develop this program, it is actually very appropriate, he said. The museum
already has an innovative and extensive high-tech infrastructure through
such resources as its Community Technology Exploration Studio, and has taken
on the cause of providing educational services to all Virginia citizens
as a core mission.
"We have become rather nimble-footed about these things," Witschey said.
"We are now very used to providing science and technology education for
all ages, and the museum has been aggressively collaborative [with the community]
in doing so."
The grant was given by the U.S. Department of Education.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Science Museum of Virginia
"Museum stocks Web with U.S. history" [Federal Computer Week, Aug. 20, 2001]
"Grants boost library technology" [FCW.com, July 27, 2001]
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.