Prior to the Summits, in the Fall of 2020, the New York State Library and the New York State Education Department, in partnership with the METRO Library Council and the Northern New York Library Network, sponsored a series of webinars that focused on different aspects of digital equity. Archived recordings of these sessions, listed below, are available on METRO's YouTube channel.
Francella Ochillo, Executive Director of Next Century Cities presented an overview of the concepts of digital equity and digital inclusion and discussed the need for long-term solutions for local connectivity.
Presenters Grace Ting and Ellen Goldich introduced the Digital Bridge K-12 Home Access Needs Assessment Playbook, a free step-by-step guide to help schools/school districts identify students who lack home digital access.
Sam Faduski from the The Public Utility Law Project provided an overview of the Lifeline low-income discount telephone program and low-income internet programs, also reviewing changes to these programs in light of the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Presented by Greta Byrum of Community Tech NY and Sharon Akkoul of NYSERNet, with speakers from The Point CDC and the Bronx Community Relief Effort, the Kingston Equitable Internet Initiative, and the Buffalo Digital Divide Initiative, this webinar discussed how three unique communities are building broadband ecosystems their own way.
Presented by National Digital Inclusion Alliance, this webinar demonstrated how different affiliates are putting the Digital Navigator Model into action to add more digital equity to our social safety net and community institutions. Speakers included: Sabrina Roach and Paolo Balboa from NDIA; Shauna Edson and Justin Strange, from the Salt Lake City Public Library's Digital Navigator project; and Margaret (Meg) Käufer, of the STEM Alliance of Larchmont-Mamaroneck.
Presented by Scott Kushner, Director of LaFayette Public Library, and Annabeth Hayes, Director of Tully Free Library, founders of the Central New York Digital Inclusion Coalition; and Stacey Martin, Digital Inclusion Coordinator at Finger Lakes Digital Inclusion Coalition. This presenters spoke to members of newly formed coalitions, explored establishing and sustaining a coalition, and addressed the real work happening right now.
Presented by Shawna M. Brandle, Associate Professor of Political Science, at Kingsborough Community College, Stacy Katz, Assistant Professor, Library, Lehman College, Jennifer Van Allen, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education, Lehman College, Nicole Williams, Instructor, Library, Bronx Community College. This webinar discussed Open Educational Resources (OER) and how these learning materials can be customized for students' diverse needs.
Annmarie Lanesey of AlbanyCanCode introduced CanCode's Virtual Digital Literacy program, which is designed to create a bridge for underserved populations to take their first steps towards careers in technology.
Nick Higgins, Selvon Smith, Maya Wagoner, and David Giles from the Brooklyn Public Library discussed practical digital equity interventions and how they fit into a broader digital equity strategy that positions libraries on the front lines of universal access to knowledge and information.
Tali Horowitz and Amina Fazlullah of Common Sense spoke about the latest research on the current digital divide, and what steps educators and policymakers can take to ensure students have both the access and the digital literacy skills to leverage technology for learning and life. they also discussed Common Sense’s K-12 Digital Citizenship Program and Wide Open School.