Our team had a reflective meeting today to talk about how we can improve our services to parents and participants. One thing I have noticed is that many parents are interested in the work that we do at Elemental, but may not have the time nor financial resources to participate. Time has been a main point of conflict for parents, who see the time commitment as an inconvenience. The model that Elemental has based on a 2 week summer camp, with students coming to a specific workshop every other day in the week. I offered an idea to hopefully make our services in the community more accessible: mini-workshops. These should be short, 1-hr workshops that are not only cheaper, but more accessible to our clients. They don’t promise to teach everything possible about a certain topic, but are meant to provide exposure and basic knowledge so that the interested student has a basis.
My goal for proposing short workshops was to think of ways Elemental can close the digital gap. I was left with this question: Do they close the digital gap by making it more accessible and affordable? It depends on how well Elemental can market to a more diverse group of clients. It is critical that the mini-workshops are marketed to families who may feel intimidated by digital tools or who may not understand what programming is. When we design mini-workshops that focus on exposure and sparking interest to those who least expected it, we are one step closer to closing the digital divide.