The Plugged In Greenhouse is targeted at children aged six to
twelve from the community. The vision of the Greenhouse workers is to create
creative thinking producers in the technology community, not just consumers.
Each day's activities are focused on
the expression of creative arts, and part of each
lesson plan involves the use of computers and the internet as a tool. The children enrolled in the program draw from
their experience in the community to produce electronic works of art and poetry,
such as a Virtual Gallery
and a Virtual Book,
which are then posted to Plugged In's web site. In the spirit of Plugged In, the
cost of enrollment is merely $20, and this can be paid through 5 hours of adult
volunteering at Plugged In.
The Technology Access Center
Another program that Plugged In runs is the Technology Access
Center, which provides members of all ages from the communities access to
computers, the internet, and online information. Some of the resources at the
center include: a community production studio, copy center, cyber-library,
self-paced learning studio, and telecommunication booth. The Technology Access
Center provides one on one help in achieving personal goals, rather than forcing
participation in particular activities. They have organized special resource
areas such as a job resources area, health related information, a small business
starter kit, homework assistance information, and web design. They also provide
specific help in job training and starting a small business.
Plugged In Enterprises
The third program that Plugged In runs is Plugged In
Enterprises, which trains teenagers from the community in web development
skills. After being trained in these skills, the program partners the teens with
local community and paying corporate organizations for whom they design web
sites. A few of the clients for whom they have created web sites include Pacific
Bell, Sun Microsystems, and the East
Palo Alto Law Project. Volunteers from local organizations, such as Intel, Cisco
Systems, and Macromedia, come to the center to help train the teens in various
with actual business experience, not just an exercise which has no real meaning.
Students must demonstrate a high degree of proficiency in a number of business
skills, such as the ability to work under deadlines, work with others in a high
stress environment, and a willingness to learn and accept criticism. Many of the
students have been able to use the skills that they have learned to get
internships with local technology companies, and many of them plan to major in a
technical field when they go to college.