Digital Leaders 2013

01/07/2014 Digital Leader by j.smith

These 2013 Digital Leaders represent a cross section of all four divisions of UW-Extension. These statewide Digital Leaders will work with the Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center and their communities to increase broadband (high speed internet) connection and adoption. Their projects will run July – December, 2013.

Read more about the Digital Leader project description, and view a sample Digital Leader Application. Please note that only UWEX employees who are graduates of the High Speed Broadband Boot Camp can apply for the Digital Leader grants.

andresenWill Andresen, Community Resource Development Educator, Iron County. Will is the Community Resource Development Educator in Iron County. He works with governments and organizations to help support and sustain the economy while protecting the community’s natural resources. His primary focus area is attracting and retaining young people in the rural community that has witnessed decades of population decline. Will hopes that working with the local community to enhance broadband will support this larger effort of attracting and retaining young people to sustain the community.

The vision for this project is to better understand existing demand, values, perceptions and barriers regarding broadband connectivity to best prepare for a change effort designed to enhance broadband connectivity in Iron County. Two primary outcomes of this effort include: 1) Understanding local demand, values, perceptions and barriers related to broadband in order to craft the most effective response and message to local leaders; and 2) to identify local parties interested in serving on the task force to enhance the county’s broadband connectivity.

Lynn Blinkenberg_smLynne Blinkenberg, director of community engagement  for Wisconsin Public Television (WPT). Lynne manages statewide outreach and Ready to Lead in Literacy activities. Based in Madison, Lynne oversees screening and facilitated discussion events, web materials; activities designed to extend the value of public media throughout the state.

On September 20, 2013, WPT staff will conduct a train-the-trainers workshop for local early childhood educators, teachers and youth leaders in using PBS Ready to Learn online content.  Once trained, these local educators will return to their organizations prepared to integrate new technology, media and literacy activities into their programming and curriculum.  WPT will offer continuing support and resources for the year of the project and beyond.  We expect 12-15 local educators to become trainers and local facilitators.

Erica Brewster_smErica Brewster, Family Living Educator, Oneida County. Erica’s work focuses on strengthening capacity for professionals in family-serving and human services organizations in Oneida County through strategic planning, professional development, and, where appropriate, technology adoption. She also is a co-chair of the Raising a Thinking Child state networking team where she is working to develop online parenting education modules to complement the RTC parent education program.

Erica and Tim (below) are collaborating on a project to identify Community Anchor institutions on the front lines of technology adoption and loan them a “Gadget Kit” consistent with the learning needs of their staff. The staff will have several months to use the technology on a daily basis, increasing their comfort and familiarity with the devices.  The hands-on experience with the devices would be supplemented with bi-weekly meetings with Extension educators to explore features that they might not have been aware of, ask questions and learn teaching techniques.  Over time, the hope if that the project will grow to reach many of the Anchor institutions that serve the digital immigrants of Oneida County.

Tim Brown UWEX Oneida CountyTim Brown, Community Resource Development Educator, Oneida County. Tim’s work includes helping community leaders understand the importance of technology, as well as general capacity building with many different community organizations.

Media Highlight: E-Reader training, Oneida County Libraries, WJFW TV (video)


Mary Kluz Mary Kluz, Cooperative Extension, Marathon County. Mary’s educational programming focuses on organizational learning and sustainable communities. She works with local elected officials and nonprofits on strategic action, performance management and leadership development.

Mary’s project will actively involve different sectors (public, business, consumer) in the larger broadband discussion to help them understand their role in expanding and improving access to broadband in Marathon County.  This also includes relevant county board committees with economic development interests (Infrastructure: how do we facilitate fiber expansion?); Education and Economic Development (what is our role in encouraging adoption?); and Public Safety (what are our needs and potential efficiencies?) as well as smaller units of government- city, town and village- to help them understand their potential roles and current barriers. There will also be one central technology fair to bring many interested parties together to learn about current options and shortfalls.

Media Highlights: Digital Literacy Education, Marathon County, WFXS TV (video), Presentation to the Marathon County Board on “Broadband as a Public Policy Issue” with UWEX Broadband & E-Commerce Education Center’ Digital LeaderMary Kluz. This basic intro includes current options for consumers and where there are service gaps in the county, as well as a start of a conversation about how the board/committees might consider enabling more access. (Broadband topic starts at about minute 10:20), Wausau Area Access Channel


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