Spanning the technology rift in the ward

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dmaynes
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Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Spanning the technology rift in the ward

Postby dmaynes » Sun Jun 28, 2009 5:52 am

I told my mother about my calling (ward historian and ward website person), and being 81-years-old and not having the Internet, she said, "Well, Dennis, how are you going to involve all the people who do not have this latest technology?"

The only thing I am doing to deal with this "rift" in my ward is to make sure that relevant items from the website are included in our monthly hard-copy newsletter.

I have asked the Relief Society Presidency if we can distribute hard copies of ward e-mails to the sisters that do not have Internet access. They are thinking about how they might do this.

What solutions have you implemented? How might we provide access to the ward website to those who do not have an e-mail account? And, to those who are technology-challenged?

I appreciate any advice.

techgy
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Postby techgy » Sun Jun 28, 2009 8:03 am

dmaynes wrote:I told my mother about my calling (ward historian and ward website person), and being 81-years-old and not having the Internet, she said, "Well, Dennis, how are you going to involve all the people who do not have this latest technology?"

The only thing I am doing to deal with this "rift" in my ward is to make sure that relevant items from the website are included in our monthly hard-copy newsletter.

I have asked the Relief Society Presidency if we can distribute hard copies of ward e-mails to the sisters that do not have Internet access. They are thinking about how they might do this.

What solutions have you implemented? How might we provide access to the ward website to those who do not have an e-mail account? And, to those who are technology-challenged?

I appreciate any advice.


It sounds like you have a good start already. One other suggestion would be to see if the "others" in the ward who do not have a computer would be interested in having one and learning some basics. I have found that those who do have the technology often have older computers around that they're willing to part with. These older boxes can be cleaned and reconfigured and donated to help others out. Of course they would need the Internet in order to make use of them and this might not be possible in every case. But it's an idea which I've personally used myself.

In fact, a few months ago my employer, a large manufacturing firm, had obsoleted a few Pentium III computers. When I inquired as to whether or not I could have them they were happy to get rid of them. I reformatted the drives and re-installed the operating system and ended up giving them to others in the stake who wanted a computer but couldn't afford one.

Aside from this, your present choice of passing out information in hard-copy is likely your best option.

dmaynes
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Posts: 233
Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:50 am
Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Postby dmaynes » Sun Jun 28, 2009 9:29 am

Techgy wrote:It sounds like you have a good start already. One other suggestion would be to see if the "others" in the ward who do not have a computer would be interested in having one and learning some basics. I have found that those who do have the technology often have older computers around that they're willing to part with. These older boxes can be cleaned and reconfigured and donated to help others out. Of course they would need the Internet in order to make use of them and this might not be possible in every case. But it's an idea which I've personally used myself.


I like this suggestion. I will bring it up with one of the bishopric. I'm not really in a position to reconfigure and rebuild old hardware. And, I do spend a lot of time in my calling, but perhaps we have resources in the ward that could help.

Techgy wrote:Aside from this, your present choice of passing out information in hard-copy is likely your best option.


I was wondering if computers could be put in the ward library for this purpose.

I know the Internet can be installed in the meetinghouses (at least the clerks' office), but I don't know whether the ward websites can be accessed by normal ward members.

I thought about using Home Teachers, Visiting Teachers, etc. And, I expect that we will come up with some sort of solution. I really hate to see 10% or more of the ward fall behind because they do not have technology available to them.

scion-p40
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Postby scion-p40 » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:36 am

This is something that will really vary in different areas. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one household in my ward that does not have internet. Depending on the quantity involved, snail mail might be the best route. My experience relying on VT/HT is not promising. If those without internet also attend church regularly, then having someone assigned to distribute the info to those needing it could also work. (It's a waste of paper to print it for everyone.)

P.S.: My dad loves his calling as ward historian!

dmaynes
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Joined: Sat Nov 01, 2008 9:50 am
Location: Pleasant Grove, Utah

Postby dmaynes » Mon Jun 29, 2009 8:01 am

scion wrote:This is something that will really vary in different areas. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one household in my ward that does not have internet. Depending on the quantity involved, snail mail might be the best route. My experience relying on VT/HT is not promising. If those without internet also attend church regularly, then having someone assigned to distribute the info to those needing it could also work. (It's a waste of paper to print it for everyone.)


After I finish my enrollment campaign, I expect the number of people without e-mail access who would like to receive the information to be between 30 and 35 members. $50 per month in postage (i.e., one mailing per week) would be a big expense.

I suppose that I could try our ward bulletin board as a way of reaching some members, but I rarely see anyone reading the bulletin board.

As a matter of interest, our ward website participation is as follows:
  • about 47% are enrolled for the website,
  • about 14% "get a copy" from a spouse or other household member
  • 5% are not interested,
  • 8% do not have e-mail access,
  • I have not been able to contact 10%,
  • and I'm working with the rest trying to get them enrolled.

I expect to ultimately have 9% not interested and 13% who don't have e-mail access. I hope to have 75% to 80% coverage in about 6 months when I finish the enrollment campaign.

Some members with e-mail access do not have the Internet, but they access it at homes of family members, libraries or at work.

A few members have the Internet, but they are not interested in e-mail. I haven't had success enrolling them onto the website because an e-mail address is required to register.


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