Daley pushing tech literacy for all in Chicago
June 5, 2006
BY MICHAEL KRAUSS
In the 21st century
economy, "everyone needs to have access to computer technology
to succeed in life," Mayor Daley says. "Computer literacy
is a fundamental skill in the modern world."
the library of Al Raby High School on West Fulton Street last
week, Daley made it clear he's committed to helping Chicago and
all Chicagoans remain competitive.
India and Japan know that the way to grow their economies is to
invest in technology, and we have to keep pace," Daley says.
"In technology as in many other areas of our society, there's
a wide gap between the haves and the have-nots."
is to help close the digital divide.
In an RFP
issued last week, the city seeks companies that will partner to
provide free or low-cost Internet access to every Chicagoan. Daley
expects bidders to make a significant financial commitment to
providing computers, software and train-ing to those who can't
For its part,
the city will provide access to streetlights, lamp posts and other
parts of the city infrastructure. The city is also offering $250,000
in grants to community groups to jump-start technology access.
also appointed MacArthur Foundation Vice President Julia Stasch
-- his former chief of staff -- to chair an 18-member committee
on Closing the Digital Divide.
CIO of the City of Chicago, says, "Where you don't have broadband
access, people just don't have the necessary tools. This has a
huge potential to positively impact economic development.
not only asking for a technical solution to solve the problem
of access, we are asking vendors to be creative and give us solutions
that enable Chicagoans to use this technology for education and
builds on the work of the City Council and Ald. Margaret Laurino
(39th) and Ald. Ed Burke (14th). They held public hearings and
made the recommendations that spearheaded the initiative.
It could leapfrog
Chicago ahead of Philadelphia and San Francisco, which are also
considering public Wi-Fi initiatives. It could inject new juice
in Chicago's tech economy.
Will it help
Chicago's kids? You bet. In his latest book, Revolutionary Wealth,
author Alvin Toffler reports on an experiment by New Delhi physicist
a PC with high-speed Internet connection in a wall near the Sarvodaya
Camp near a poor Indian slum. He monitored the PC with a remote
looting the computer, the kids from the camp played with the computer,
and taught each other to use the equipment. According to Toffler,
Mitra's experiments demonstrate that computer literacy can be
achieved by providing access to technology.
program aims to make that a reality. It's a bold initiative fitting
of the City of Big Shoulders.
Chief Development Officer Julie Harris moderates Wednesday's Executives'
Club technology conference at the Chicago Hilton & Towers.
is on managing the challenges and opportunities of a changing
global work force.
include: Convergys SVP Peter Hirano, Motorola VP Toby Redshaw
and CDW EVP James Shanks.
a name? Chicago Internet entrepreneur Josh Metnick thinks geography-specific
Web domain names are golden. He owns Chicago.com
is bringing likeminded city.com
site owners together in Chicago.
a cool thing to have in Chicago," says Metnick, who formed
the city site association three years ago.
Associated Cities GeoDomain Expo 2006 at the Hyatt Regency brought
together more than 150 city site owners. There's no word on whether
the owners of NewYorkCity.com
hit it off with LagunaBeach.com
for sure: Their domain names are precious property.
co-CEO of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, keynotes today's
launch of Globalcomm 2006. Also speaking at Globalcomm today are
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Orange CEO Sanjiv Ahuja.
telecommunications conference is at McCormick Place through Thursday.
Krauss is a Chicago area tech writer and consultant.