Facts –

I know that the TT lab is in the Tenderloin district, which is one of the higher poverty boroughs of San Francisco.  They are a project overseen by St. Anthony’s & Network Ministries.  They provide computers for the public to use, and offer courses on how to use computers (beginner/intermediate computer skills, service skills, etc.) They teach a lot of people computer basics who would otherwise have no resources to do so on their own.

Assumptions –

I assume that most of the people who I will be working with are those living in the Tenderloin borough. I also assume that most of them will have little to no previous experience.  I anticipate this to be both eye-opening and challenging, as the people I interact with on a daily basis are usually fluent in computer usage.  I assume that there will be some sort of staff oversight of my work, as well as some expectations of me by this staff.  I assume they will expect me to be on-time and polite, conscious and patient, and perhaps most importantly, enthusiastic about being there.

Challenges –

I have never interacted with people with absolutely no knowledge of how to use a computer.  Not only am I going to interact with people like this, it will be my specific task to teach them these skills.  This is going to be a challenge because it is something I have never done before.  As with any other new activity, you can give yourself the advantage by coming prepared, but this can only be so helpful.  Once I start teaching, I will have to evaluate my teaching and adjust it accordingly.  I know these types of changes will be harder to make than they might seem, because different people learn different ways.

Expectations –

I hope to mainly learn about just how wide the digital divide is.  I have never had any first hand experience with this; all my knowledge of this subject comes from lectures and text books.  At the very least I expect my perspective to dilate.  On the other end of the spectrum, perhaps my perspective will change all-together.  I hope to learn a little bit more about every day computer users.  People like this interest me, as their interaction with computers can be dangerous.  Dangerous to their own identity, dangerous to the system they’ve been granted access to, etcetera.  From a social engineering aspect, these users are the weakest link, and pose a large threat.  I like to talk to people who use computers very rarely and / or know very little about safety and security.  I like to ask them about whether they continue when they get a certificate warning, or how they pick their passwords.  I think they are an incredibly interesting data set, and I hope to learn more about them during our time.