The Virgin Islands Next Generation Network, Inc. (viNGN) collaborated with the Resident Council of the Oswald Harris Court Community for a free technology seminar entitled “Each 1 Teach 1” on Wednesday, July 12, at the Ruth Dazle Community Center/Boys and Girls Club Public Computer Center, with the aim of sharing free online training resources available to anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection, via viNGN’s blog.
viNGN’s Mobile PCC made its debut at the event, as 10 customized Chromebooks were added to the PCC’s available computers so that all in attendance could take part in the workshop. A variety of skill levels were evident, as one woman actually learned to use a computer for the first time; a gentleman made a beeline to business training for entrepreneurs; a young woman found lessons on programming games; and an educator was able to easily find the Microsoft training she needed. Everyone received printed guides to help them to locate these tools and resources from any Internet-connected computer or device.
The free online training list may be accessed at any time by visiting viNGN’s website here, and clicking the “Blog” link in the top menu. From there, click the “Free Online Training” icon in the right sidebar, or click the “Online Training” link on the Blog’s top menu. The page contains several sections:
• Basic Digital Literacy – For beginners and moderate users; includes links to the Absolute Beginners Computer Lab and the Internet Starter Kit
• Educational – For students of all ages, with many popular learning sites plus official GED and SAT links
• Programming, Coding – For novices or experts, to learn coding, web development, game design; includes the popular Hour of Code
• Literary – USVI Public Libraries EBSCOhost linkage (Library Card req’d), e-readers and free online children’s books
• Online Research – For Caribbean and general genealogy and other resources, University of the Virgin Islands, Digital Library of the Caribbean, the official VI Code and more
• Professional – Free resources for entrepreneurs, including links to SCORE, SBA, UVI SBDC Online Training Center, and TED Talks
• Higher Education – Includes low-cost or free advanced training from UVI CELL, edX, MIT Open Course Ware, and Open Text links for free digital textbooks
• Financial Literacy – Access Money Smart resources for adults and children, free Quickbooks video tutorials, links to official Free Credit Reports, etc.
viNGN was primarily funded by grants from the Department of Commerce through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) with a charter to provide wholesale broadband middle-mile service to providers and to promote local economic growth, innovation and global competitiveness. The grants awarded were: State Broadband Data Development (SBDD), Comprehensive Community Initiative (CCI), Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) and PCC.
Through the PCC grant, viNGN worked in conjunction with local vendors and suppliers to obtain and install nearly 400 computers, servers, productivity and security software, printers, switches, routers and other peripherals. Selected centers also received furniture, ADA (assistive) hardware and/or software, and large-screen monitors.