Sao Tome and Principe Partnership

Project Plan

Technology Transfer as a Form of Social and Economic Entrepreneurship

Project Plan:

There are currently two youth programs supported by the University of Illinois Graduate School and Information Science (GSLIS) in the metro East St. Louis area of Illinois. One is Community Concepts, a community theater which provides youth with instruction on the performing and stage arts. Participants conduct stage performances which are filmed and edited for presentation on the local public access TV station. The youth learn every aspect of stage production and filming including performance, music, sound, lighting and digital editing. For some, these skills have led to employment. Others have advanced their skills and knowledge through post secondary education.

The second program is the Teen Tech Team. This program targets youth (14-18 years of age) who are interested in technology. They are taught basic hardware and trouble shooting skills but with an eye toward entrepreneurship. This is done by training the youth to repair, upgrade and modify donated computers into a finished product. The youth can the support existing public access computer labs (social entrepreneurship). The incentive for the youth is the eventual sale of these refurbished computers as a means of creating income (economic entrepreneurship. The goal of Teen Tech Team is to introduce the youth to technical skills and a business model so that they may find gainful employment, progress to more advanced tech training, start a business or enter educational institutions such as the University of Illinois.

This project will incorporate the lessons learned in East St. Louis and implement a similar program in Sao Tome. Youth from both Community Concepts and Teen Tech Team will travel to Sao Tome during the summer 2008. The Teen Tech members will work with University of Illinois graduate students to install computer access points in schools around the island. They will learn about maintenance issues which are prevalent (and possibly unique) at existing computer access locations in the country.

The youth will be introduced to approximately 15 Sao Tome youth of similar age from the national high school. The Sao Tome youth will be selected based on their interest in learning technology and expanding their English language skills. The ESL youth will spend three weeks with the Sao Tome youth. Collectively, their primary project will be to set up a 25 computer lab at the nation’s only high school. The school serves approximately 5000 students and does not have a functional computer lab. The Sao Tome students will be taught how to repair and upgrade computers. They will also develop hardware trouble shooting skills. This training session will be supervised by GSLIS grad students. The instructors have teaching experience and are proficient in computer diagnostics and repair. The ESL Teen Tech Team will serve as assistant instructors working hand in hand with the Sao Tome students.

The Sao Tome youth will have the opportunity to maintain contact with the ESL youth with questions concerning computer repair. They will also have the opportunity to continue to improve their language skills and maintain friendships.

The newly trained Sao Tome students will then be in a position to maintain and support the many computer access points established by the rest of the GSLIS team including their high school.

An exciting component of this project includes the youth from Community Concepts. The youth from Community Concepts will document the Teen Tech activities. This video documentation will be edited into a documentary for presentation on the public access TV channel in East St. Louis and forums at the University of Illinois.


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