Climbing the Digital Use Ladder: Digital Inclusion, Adoption and Innovation #MNBroadband Conference

There are two essential parts of a broadband plan – having it and using it. This session we’re going to talk about how to use it specifically by hearing from folks around Minnesota who have been creative about getting their community to make better use of broadband. We’ll get demonstrations and stories from a wide range of digital champions.

We will hear from each round of presenters, have time to mingle and ask follow up questions, then reconvene for the following panel.

1:00-2:00 – Digital Inclusion

PCs for People
Madeline Tate
PCs for People refurbishes donated computers to distribute to low income households. They also offer affordable tech support and Internet access (where available). IN a partnership with the Blandin Foundation, PCs for People has been working with rural communities around Minnesota.

Project FINE
Fatima Said FSaid@Co.Winona.MN.US
Project Fine focuses on integrating new Americans to their new home in Winona. They offer a range of classes and services including technology training from the ground up in multiple languages and opportunities for kids to learn how to code.

Cook Public Library
Crystal Phillips
Cook Public Library allows patrons to checkout mobile hotspots so that patrons can access broadband from home. She will tell us about the program and maybe some other innovative ways they are using broadband especially with teens.

Winona Friendship Center
Malia Fox
The Friendship Center offers remote elder exercise online. Participants can see each other and the instructor for this one of a kind exercise program.

2:15-3:15 – Digital Adoption

Community Technology Empowerment Project
Katie Ward & Gus Leinbach
CTEP AmeriCorps members adopt long-term a technology project in the Twin Cities. They have done research, created portals, developed and deployed programs to get kids and adults to better use technology. Gus and Katie are CTEP members; they will talk about their experience as well as their peers’.

Ely/Hibbing Business Consulting, Entrepreneur Fund
Julie George,
Julie has worked with several BBC (Blandin Broadband Community) initiatives where local businesses have been paired with a consultant to work on digital marketing strategies and improvements – as well as business-focused technology classes.

Women’s March Minnesota
Ann Treacy
Women’s March Minnesota was born of the 2017 national march to action but has developed into a movement, largely based on use of the website, email list and social media. Learn how they are using online tools to encourage people to vote in the 2018 election through a campaign called Power to the Polls.

Boreal Corps
Anne Brataas
Boreal Corps is a program that is using technology to help kids help others to tell stories. Last year participating youth worked with the American Lung Association of MN to do online health messaging to reach their peers in Cook and Lake County about the dangers of vaping. Right now, they are working on a broadband multigenerational history project to unite the community behind a project in bringing a contingency to Uganda for the grand opening of the maternal-child clinic, sending kids text and photos that kids package into effective daily blog posts to keep the community engaged.

3:30 – 4:30 Digital Powerhouses

GigaZone Online Gaming Contest
Brian Bissonette
Paul Bunyan is hosting their 3rd annual GigaZone Gaming Championship on Saturday, October 20 at the Sanford Center in Bemidji. It is the first and largest stadium style eSports event in northern Minnesota and last year over 3,000 in attended.  All the fun is free.  Guests can play in tournaments of Overwatch, Madden 19, Fortnite, Rocket League, Super Smash Brothers, Magic the Gathering, and more for cash and prizes.  There is also open console and arcade gaming throughout and a Cosplay Contest for those who dress up and embrace their inner fantasy character with prizes of up to $200 for the top costume of the weekend.

Chuck Olsen
“Virtual Reality is Here.” Learn how this new medium opens up a world of new experiences with your smartphone. And here about how Chuck has used it for a wide range of purposes – music videos, promotions and social justice.

Precision Ag
Jake Rieke
Jake is on the board of RS Fiber, which has worked to bring Fiber to the Farm in Renville and Sibley Counties. He is also a farmer who uses improved broadband for precision agriculture applications.

This entry was posted in MN Broadband Summit 2018 by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

1 thought on “Climbing the Digital Use Ladder: Digital Inclusion, Adoption and Innovation #MNBroadband Conference

  1. Pingback: Closing Reflections #MNBroadband Conference | Blandin on Broadband

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