Project Ideas

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The following is a collection of ideas for projects to help communities move to the next stage in the CSPP Guide.  Many of these ideas have been implemented by communities that have used the Guide.  Some ideas require two or more sectors to work together.
Education         Business        Residents  Communications Companies    Government Community Organizations       Healthcare
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Local Perspectives

We have collected a large number of stories about how organizations in California's San Joaquin Valley are using the Internet today.  This page includes over 50 short descriptions.

Education

bulletEstablish teacher training programs that help teachers learn how to use the new technologies and incorporate them into their curriculum.  (See Foothill College Center for Innovation.)
bulletGive all students and teachers e-mail accounts.  Services like www.gaggle.net provide controls that provide security and safety.  Many schools are developing "Acceptable Use" policies.
bulletGet all K-12 schools to add information about themselves on www.greatschools.org.  The site helps parents considering a move to your community find the best schools.
bulletA collections of links to resources for educators:  Computer Using Educators (CUE).
bulletEstablish a e-mail distribution list to help teachers exchange ideas.
bulletIdentify technical experts at local companies who can act as mentors for local teachers.  (This and related ideas are available from Foothill.)
bulletRaise funds to equip classrooms with computers and networks.  Apply for e-rate funds to subsidize the cost of communications services.
bulletGet the Parent-Teachers Association on-line.  Create a webpage with information about meetings.  Create a mailing list to announce meetings and events.
bulletCreate a program to help low-income parents obtain or access computers to help them communicate with their childrens' teachers.
bulletOrganize technology fairs to help parents understand how computers and the Internet support educational goals.  Use the events to support fund-raising efforts.
bulletTrain students during the summer to provide technical support to teachers.  

Business

bulletOrganize monthly meetings with local speakers who can talk about how their organization is using the Internet.  Meetings can be sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, a trade association, or other business association.
bulletSet up a demonstration facility to show business people the benefits of high-speed communications.  The facility could be sponsored by the communications companies.
bulletOrganize a conference for local builders, real estate agents, and lenders on how to build fully connected neighborhoods, and office and industrial parks.
bulletPartner with the local community colleges and technical training schools to create e-commerce classes that are tailored to the needs of local industries, e.g. agriculture, machining, retail, real estate, construction, healthcare professionals and so forth.
bulletSet up a workforce development portal - a regional resource for job seekers looking for training programs, advice on skill requirements, and local job listings.  
bulletWork with local government agencies to put all forms needed to start a business on-line so that basic information needs to be entered only once, and forms are submitted electronically.
bulletEncourage hotels and other businesses that are open late to set up facilities with 24x7 access to the Internet. 
bulletSet up formal telework/telecommuting programs.  This Guide was first prepared by Smart Valley to help businesses understand the benefits of telework programs and how to resolve issues like insurance and OSHA rules.
bulletSet up videoconferencing facilities to reduce travel across the county or region for meetings.  Find a compelling starting application such as reviewing construction plans with permitting officials. 

Communications Companies

bulletSet up demonstration facilities to show people the difference between dial-up lines and high-speed services.
bulletWork with builders to design and manage a demonstration networked home to showcase new applications and train builders on installation techniques.  Companies like Lowe's and Home Depot may be willing to partner on the project.
bulletShare construction plans with other utilities to find opportunities to share construction costs.
bulletConduct surveys to find out where high-speed services are needed.  Many industrial parks are poorly served because they are beyond the limit for DSL service.
bulletCollaborate on the preparation of maps that show what high-speed services are available where in each community.

Residents/Consumers

bulletCreate a community portal - a website with a directory of information about the community, including links to local schools, government agencies, community organizations, churches, healthcare providers, newspapers, and many more.  (See Santa Clarita, Valencia, Ashland, Santa Monica, and Launceton.)
bulletConduct a survey of residents to find out how many have computers, internet access, high-speed services, and so forth.  Use the information to encourage local businesses to sell on-line to local customers and preserve sales tax revenues.
bulletOrganize on-line neighborhood discussion groups and bulletin boards on the web.  Such sites can help parents find baby sitters, organize a non-stop garage sale, promote public safety, and plan block parties.  (Neighborhood Link offers free services.)

Government

bulletPut building permits on the web.  Allow architects to submit drawings electronically.  Allow self-permitting for simple permits.  
bulletAllow residents to renew simple licenses on-line to save them a trip to the office for a form, or save postage and time.
bulletCreate a portal that helps residents find the service they need regardless of which agency provides it.  
bulletEncourage people to sign up for a weekly e-mail on the latest happenings in local government.  (see Frank's Weekly Memo in Palo Alto, CA)
bulletReview procedures for permitting construction of communications lines and look for ways to remove barriers that do not add value.  
bulletOrganize monthly meetings of construction supervisors for all utilities to share construction plans and encourage cost sharing.  
bulletDevelop clear policies for siting communications towers.  Encourage wireless companies to share towers whenever possible.  Lease space on government towers if feasible.  
bulletProvide the city council with a resolution that will put them on record as supporting the rapid deployment of high-speed services and encouraging streamlining when possible.  The Telecommunications Infrastructure Partnership developed a model resolution (Word file).
bulletGet the local League of Women Voters to join Smart Voter and help local candidates for election set up web pages.  The service can provide voters with a custom ballot and information on local ballot measures based on their address.

Community-Based Organizations

bulletLink service providers together so they can access a central database of clients to get client history and speed referrals.
bulletPartner with a community college or a technical training institution to provide training on how non-profits can take advantage of information technology. Get the Wired for Good book by Joni Podolosky from Jossey-Bass publishing.
bulletWork together to identify sources of technical support and sharing arrangements to reduce costs.  (See CompuMentor.)
bulletSet up internship programs with local high schools and technical training schools to get free or low cost technical support.
bulletOrganize computer recycling programs to capture machines being excessed by businesses and public agencies.  This can be a complicated program, but every community needs to address the problem of toxic computer waste as well as helping disadvantaged communities get access to technology.
bulletWhile you're at it, collect used cell phones to give to local organizations that need them.  The Wireless Foundation can help you set up a community-based program leveraging existing non-profits. 

Healthcare

bulletEncourage private practitioners to send prescriptions to pharmacies electronically to save time and reduce errors.
bulletOrganize classes to show private practitioners how to submit insurance paperwork and test results electronically.
bulletEncourage major healthcare providers to convert to the Electronic Medical Record to save costs and improve accuracy.  Connect doctor's homes to the hospital system to allow them to review and update records remotely.
bulletIn rural areas set up telemedicine facilities in clinics with connections to specialists in other parts of the state.  (Crossing state-boundaries raises problems with licensing.)
bulletFor a glimpse into the future, take a look at the new, on-line patient information center at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation

 

 
Copyright 2005 Connected Communitiessm
Last modified: December 31, 2004