LO*OP Center, Inc., our host institution(Click here to jump to LO*OP Board Pages)

LO*OP Center is a tax exempt, 501(c)(3), nonprofit California corporation that provides educational products, services and consulting. It specializes in appropriate technology and intercultural communication training for adults and children. We work with business and industry, government and educational organizations, community groups and individuals.

LO*OP Center's activities are project-based. Each project has a separate budget, senior project leader and staff of multicultural teachers, developers, subject matter experts and client representatives. Project team members come from the community in which the learning takes place whenever possible. This builds local expertise and gives the team a personal stake in their learners' success. LO*OP Center serves communities all over the world. We have an international network of independent consultants whose experience permits us to staff projects of general interest as well as those of an industry-, issue- or cultural-specific nature. All LO*OP Center project leaders report directly to Liza Loop, the Center's Executive Director.

What's in our name...?
LO*OPLearning Options * Open Portal
Opening the door to learning for all people to learn what they want to know
LO*OP Center Builds...Intercultural Learning Environments
LO*OP's Vision...
A world of people living and working together in sustainable abundance, celebrating their differences.

LO*OP's Mission...
To improve the quality of people's lives by integrating cultural diversity and appropriate technology into local communities through educational projects and events.

Brief History of the LO*OP Center...

In January of 1975 the founders of LO*OP Center, Liza Loop, Dean Brown, and Stuart Cooney, started providing educational services from a small office in Cotati, California. Two weeks later, adults and children could walk into LO*OP Center and try their hands at programming the first personal microcomputer, the MITS Altair. Six months after that the Center expanded into a storefront with several computers available by the half hour, recreational and classroom space and a teaching staff. "Learning Options Center" remained open as a walk-in facility for three years. It then continued its work of creating innovative educational environments that would inspire children and adults with a desire for lifelong learning through consulting and teaching in schools, recreation departments, museums and commercial companies. For over 35 years, LO*OP's small staff and large network of intercultural and technological professionals have researched, designed and delivered many significant contributions to learning. This process will be documented in detail in the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum.

In 1976, LO*OP Center, Inc. was the first organization to bring an Apple Computer into a school classroom. As a result of observing thousands of people approach computers for the first time, the staff realized that computer technology could enhance learning and teaching in many areas but could not overcome some important obstacles to learning. LO*OP Center staff identified lack of resources for teaching about technology, resistance by teachers to changing technologies and intercultural misunderstanding as three of education's greatest barriers. They determined to use their commitment and expertise in education to create community-based projects to bring demystify electronic technology, to make small computers more accessible.

In 1986 LO*OP Center expanded its mission statement to include cultural diversity. Subsequent projects brought Soviet and American teenagers together as citizen diplomats in 1985, taught educational technology to senior Malaysian educators in 1987, developed new English as a Second Language (ESL) evaluation methods for US industry in 1990, and founded the Intercultural Resources Forum in 1991.

During much of the first decade of the new millennium LO*OP Center's energy focused on the commercial sector. But by 2006 it became clear that LO*OP Center's earlier work in computer literacy was unfinished. Computing had become indispensable in schools and homes but some key concepts cherished by the educational technology pioneers were being lost. Approaches, philosophies and techniques developed during the 1960s, '70s, and '80s never made it onto the internet and so were not discovered by more modern teachers and scholars. Seminal thinkers were dying and fading from public memory. To remedy this unfortunate trend LO*OP Center has undertaken the creation of the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum. This project, along with ongoing research on Open Educative Systems have become LO*OP's primary activities.

(An oral history of LO*OP Center by Liza Loop. - video)

A few notes on LO*OP Center vocabulary...

What is Intercultural Communication?

Whenever people from diverse groups live, work or study together, they encounter habits and values different from their own. These differences make it difficult to compose, transmit and interpret the messages that carry thoughts and feelings from one person to another. People need to be skilled in interacting with "others" while maintaining a secure sense of personal and community identity. This interaction is intercultural communication. Culturally diverse groups are those formed around family relationships, ethnicity, geographic background, language, religion, occupation, physical ability, age, gender or sexual preference.

What is Appropriate Technology?

Technology is the study of know-how. All know-how counts: "low-tech" know-how such as fishing with hand-woven nets or greeting your spouse' grandmother properly and "high tech" know-how such as computing and genetic engineering. Social know-how is as important as material technology. Social and material technologies are appropriate when the knowledge and tools necessary to accomplish a task are readily available and enhance the ecological and social situation. What we say to each other and how we organize our schools, workplaces or elections, are technologies as surely as are telephones, computers, solar ovens or the internet.

What are Open Educative Systems?

​Please visit our companion wiki for details.

What is LO*OP Center's focus?

The History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum