May 112016

confused computer Disco TechTechnology can be different things to different people. It is wondrous but it can also be frightening. Your comfort factor all depends on how knowledgeable you are about various forms of technology. To that end, Salem residents of all ages are invited to Salem’s first DiscoTech, May 14th from 10am – 3pm as part of Education Day activities at the YMCA.

DiscoTech (Discovering Technology shortened) is a multimedia workshop and fair for people of all ages and skill levels to learn and share information about tech.

Cindy S. Vincent, Ph. D., a co-facilitator of the event, and Assistant Professor of Communications at Salem State University explains:

cvincent2“We’re really hoping to attract people of all ages. We will have free childcare where younger children will be involved in supervised art/media activities. Older children can learn about fun things like digital storytelling and video production. Teens can learn about practical and socially responsible social media usage. Adults can learn how to harness technologies like online publishing and graphic design for personal or business applications. And older residents can learn how to keep in touch with friends and family through digital communication like social media.”


Welcome & Introductions, 10:15-10:45am
Small group icebreaker: share a story in a small group and describe your experiences with and knowledge of technology.

Overview and Lightning Talks, 10:45-11:30am
Speakers/activities from different community tech organizations in Salem

Lunch break and networking/collaboration opportunities, 11:30 – 12:00 p.m

Workshop Prep, 12 – 12:30 p.m.
Name That Tech workshop
Workshop Proposals/Summaries

Hands-On Workshops—TBA, 12:30 – 2pm

Project/Workshop Sprints, 2 – 2:30pm

Short presentations of local technology projects—TBA, 2:30 – 3pm

Report backs
2 minute highlights; what did you learn today?

Quick go-round: one thing that was awesome / one thing to change / what are your next steps?Salem+Education+Day+Flyer

Where did the idea came from? She reveals:

“We have some pretty great non-profit organizations like Leap4Education that have a strong focus on technology, but I haven’t heard of many tech-oriented events in the area. That being said, the idea of a DiscoTech is fairly new outside the Detroit area in general. MIT has hosted only a couple of events in the Cambridge/Boston area, and I hadn’t heard of any related tech events in my hometown of Sacramento, CA.

So I don’t think Salem is behind the times, but, it is definitely time that our community harnesses the knowledge and energy we already have around technology and invite everyone in our town to embrace the possibilities for Salem. This event really could have started from anyone, but the idea is coming from Salem State because of my membership in the Boston Civic Media Consortium, my relationship with faculty at MIT, and the Salem State University Center for Civic Engagement’s dedication to building strong community ties by sharing university knowledge and resources with the community.”

What do you hope they take away from the event:

“I hope attendees learn something new about technology that they didn’t know before by either building on knowledge they had prior to coming to the event or learning a completely new skill set they have an interest in. Also, I really hope this event sparks an interest or passion in technology across the community that encourages people to continue pursuing it.”

To assist there will be several community organizations represented at the event to provide further access and resources.

“In proposing this idea to a planning group consisting of community partners across Salem, my intent was that no one entity would be the focal point for the event, but instead that the event could be a shared investment and benefit for the entire community. I’ve been lucky enough to find community partners who share that idea and who have been very dedicated in seeing this event come to life.”

This DiscoTech is made possible by the collaborative efforts of Salem organizations such as the Salem Education Foundation, Salem State University, the Salem YMCA, the Salem State University Center for Civic Engagement, the Salem Public School District, the North Shore Community Development Coalition, the City of Salem, Creative Salem, and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Salem.

For more info, go to the ticket site or the event website .

(Image courtesy of TAW4 at

Nov 182014

While one could say there is always something “magical” going on in Salem Ma, it is especially true on the 3rd Thursday of every month— courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum. The PEM/PM event Digital Detox, scheduled for Nov.20th, is a perfect example.

PEMPM Past EventThe public in invited to join in an evening away from the distractions of technology. Yes. Travel back to a simpler, yet more direct time of personally speaking to someone, or writing actual letters. Leave it to our challenge-taking local museum to “push the envelope” and experiment with this old-fashioned concept.

PEM/PM is an unconventional gathering feature cocktails and conversation, art making and music, culinary demonstrations and surprising experiences. Members and Salem residents (with ID) are admitted free of charge, while nonmembers pay a nominal $10 fee. The event runs after hours from 6-9pm

(Also on the third Thursday of every month, the entire museum stays open from 10 am to 9 pm.)

Doneeca Thurston, new PEM Adult Programs Coordinator, explains the rationale behind Digital Detox, “the inspiration draws from our permanent collection. A lot of our newer exhibits have digital components whether its music, interactives, or visuals, which has been really fantastic. While its great to incorporate technology and reach our audiences in new and exciting ways, we realize that there is still something very special about walking into one of our permanent galleries and just taking in all of classic artwork and sculpture.”

She adds, “So this event is an invitation to power down and enjoy the evening engaging in the art of conversation, writing a heartfelt letter to a friend or loved one, or ease your mind with a peaceful meditation session.”

Join in on this impromptu jam session led by The Dejas. Everyone is welcome.

LETTER WRITING in the Atrium
A long forgotten practice, letter writing. Pen a note for a special someone, PEM will provide the stamps.

NAPTIME in the Atrium
Let your phone get some much needed rest. As an incentive, PEM is even handing out specially designed sleeping bags, for your phone that is!

LIKE in the Atrium
Now you can “like” someone in person. PEM staff will be handing out thumbs-up stickers by the info desk. “Like” a friend or stranger- be sure to say what you like about them.

SELFIE in Studio 1, Create Space
Students from Montserrat will be on hand to help you capture the perfect selfie. Stop by the Create Space to have one of these talented artists draw your portrait.

ART-MAKING in Studio 1, Create Space
Create your own vinyl record art. Paint, bedazzle, draw, the possibilities are endless.

VINYL RECORDS in the Atrium
Spin some vinyl records, courtesy of Salem’s own Hoofbeat Records

ART OF CONVERSATION at Pop-up’s throughout the galleries
Salem State University’s Philosophy Club brings interesting conversation to PEM. Join in on the conversations at several pop-up’s throughout the galleries.

7:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30pm
MEDITATION in the Indian Gallery, 2nd floor
Certified Primordial Sound Meditation Instructor, Susan Himml, will lead 20 minute meditation sessions. Sign-up at the information desk.

As the nights get cooler, this sounds like a very warm & toasty, friendly & comforting event. There will also be a cash bar and special small plate menu items from the Hawthorne Hotel. For more info, call the PEM at 978-745-9500, (or toll free 866-745-1876). The Peabody Essex Museum is located on East India Square (161 Essex St.) Salem.

(Photo of previous PEM/PM event (c) 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by John Andrews)