• Education Programs

last modified October 10, 2011 by tomlowenhaupt

­Connecting.nyc Inc. was chartered by New York State as a not-for-profit educational organization. Our education efforts are directed toward facilitating digital inclusion and civic engagement using the Internet. Here we present our education plans and achievements.

Education is not filling of a pail,
but the lighting of a fire.
              William Butler Yeats

He who opens a school door, 
closes a prison. 
                      Victor Hugo













































































Our fundamental existence has transparently evolved through this wiki and our blog. Through them, our thoughts and plans have been made available for the world to view. All are invited to participate in our deliberations and development efforts.

Education Efforts

To date, we have sponsored or participated in the following:

  • The Civics Project - Begun in 2008, the Civics Project's aim is to educate the public on the use, design, and development of web resources that serve the public interest. The project begins by identifying domain names that might benefit the civic sphere and sets them aside for development by appropriate organizations.
  • Center for Civic Media - As 2008 came to a close, we joined with MIT's Center for Future Civic Media to expose our effort for broader public engagement. Through the relationship we hope to imagine tools and techniques that will facilitate public engagement and empowerment using digital and traditional media.
  • Computers & Society at New York University - In 2009 we worked with students in a Computers & Society class at NYU that had them use a wiki to present civic and portal names sites.
  • The Kantara Initiative - In 2010 we joined the Kantara Initiative to more fully engage in processes that bridge and harmonize the identity community. Kantara actions will help ensure secure, identity-based, online interactions while preventing misuse of personal information so that networks will become privacy protecting and more natively trustworthy environments is vital to the success of .nyc.

2011 Efforts

As we enter 2011 the following education explorations are under consideration: 

  • Neighborhood Networks - In light of the December 2010 London based Networked Neighbourhoods Group's "Online Neighbourhood Networks Study," which found that "affluent people, with high educational attainment, are over-represented in the population that uses the websites," we need to devise local education projects to engage all socio-economic levels in the local governance process. See the study.
  • Net Safety - As the automobile was introduced into society parents needed to educate their children as to the dangers. So too with the introduction of the Internet, "Don't just push any button, you might download a virus."
  • Net Etiquette and Online Citizenship
  • Digital Engagement Courseware - For example, a course about creating engaging experiences in a digital world. Things that come to mind include:
    • Digital storytelling,
    • Extensible stories: i.e. the movie AI + its website/game,
    • Characters from TV shows and civic life with Facebook accounts,
    • The online comic Questionable Content +  its characters' twitter feeds,
    • Experiences using physical devices with sensors such as the wii, iphone, Patchogue, etc.,
    • Location specific computing, once again using the wii, cell phones, etc.,
    • Social computing,
    • Custom interactive exhibits/experiences (whether museums, school and hospital lobbies/briefing centers, trade shows, or commercial spaces).
Short term, it has been suggested that we also consider funding projects that provide access to these education resources, be they wi-fi, universal service, sponsorships, etc.

    Ongoing Support and Integration

    To broaden the efficacy of this new digital infrastructure, we will begin to integrate it into the school curriculum. This integration will begin in the earliest school years.

    Primary & Secondary Schooling

    Online safety lessons for children over 5 should be compulsory, echoing today's road safety campaigns. Perhaps a "Click Clever Click Safe" campaign on how to protect children using the web should be developed. See what is being done in the UK: http://gigalaw.blogspot.com/2009/12/internet-safety-lessons-mandatory-for.html.


    1. Click Clever Click Safe
    2. Click Clever Click Safe
    3. Presentation of the abilities the Internet provides and reading's role in enabling access to the Internet.
    4. Development of general awareness that like all things there is a right way and a wrong way to use the Internet.
    5. In the middle grades students and parents can begin to use the Net to find activities for their children, from athletics leagues, tutoring opportunities,  to youth friendly events in the neighborhoods.
    6. Developed correctly, a good.schools.nyc website can be an invaluable tool for helping students and parents decide what high schools to attend.
    7. .nyc can be integrated into the English curriculum as a tool for creating a local paper (either very localized in a school or more widespread among numerous schools to create neighborhood papers)
    8. .nyc can be tied into History and Government curricula to get students involved in local government and community issues. Either through an elective class or a club, students can use the resource to undertake year long projects aimed at bettering their communities. Individual teachers will be trained in the use of the tool to best facilitate the work of the youngsters.
    9. In younger grades the community projects will be more localized like park cleanups, but with the older students will be expanded to become more tied into local governance, speaking to local politicians and truly involving the youths in community activism. 

      In addition to becoming active in the community, at this age many youths begin looking for jobs, and these opportunities can frequently be hard to find. Historically, jobs were found through connections and word of mouth. Today most jobs are found through the Internet. 

    10. The many  colleges and universities, from community to CUNY to private, can organize themselves on college.nyc. This will be a great resource for students who wish to continue their studies, as well as out-of-towners who are considering taking on the big city.

    In addition to benefiting students, school sites can be utilized by parents and teachers.

    Higher Education

    We have begun speaking with computer science and engineering schools to encourage the development of curricula for DNS, Taxonomy, and Library Sciences in support of .nyc and the Domain Name System.

    Continuing Education

    We will work toward ongoing web and community online information and education programs.

    Homeless Access

    A report supported by Communiversity, a program of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, and prepared for Open Access Connections and The Internet Cafe Working Group studied the digital needs of the homeless. The report "Envisioning an Internet Center for Homeless Individuals:
    One Group’s Quest to Reduce the Digital Divide" found that digital literacy, or the ability to manipulate computer concepts and skills to access and share information, is increasingly important in the modern age. Digital literacy has four elements.

    • First of all, digital literacy is necessary to develop a 21st century workforce. Knowing how to access the internet, use search engines, and send email, is increasingly important in both searching for a job and performing basic job functions once a job offer is made.
    • Secondly, the manipulation of computer based technology is essential towards connecting with online information. Whether it is searching for health information online, or finding the address of the nearest bus station, it is clear that access to the internet is pertinent in getting around in the modern age.
    • Third, access to the internet appears to be partially responsible for the achievement gap in education that separates the kids who do well in school, and the kids who don’t. In one national study of children aged 6 to 17, a full 90% of children reported that access to a high speed broadband connection in their homes was important in completing their assignments and 70% reported it helped get them better grades.i
    • Lastly, being digitally literate is important in creating civically engaged citizens and in expanding social networks. Whether it is networking on LinkedIn, or sending an email to a congressional representative, digital literacy helps make our world more connected. 
    With that research in hand it set out to establish access resources for the homeless. We hope to follow up on their groundbreaking work.

    Intern Opportunities

    We regularly engage students in Intern Opportunities .

    Key .nyc Pages