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