ComputerTown USA! Working Page

Introduction


ComputerTown USA!, designed to introduce people of every stripe and description to computing, was a project conceived by Bob Albrecht and subsequently funded by the US National Science Foundation. We especially wanted to reach folks who might not encounter computers in the course of their everyday activities, including low-income and underserved communities. That was 1978.

Liza Loop, HCLE Vision Keeper, was hired on as Technical Coordinator of CTUSA! in 1979 and worked in the original site at the Menlo Park, CA public library, at member sites in many states and on the book documenting the project.

The Contemporary Discourse


Today, computer science educators are discussing the same problems addressed by CTUSA! as evidenced in this research and blog.

Liza responded to the blog as follows:

Right. We knew about this problem in 1979 when the NSF funded the ComputerTown, USA! project led by Bob Albrecht and Ramon Zamora in Menlo Park, CA. We put computers in local public libraries and then ran outreach programs in Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCA/YWCA's in underprivileged communities. We also had girls days in the library when you could only get a turn on the computer if you had a girl partner. Of course, there was no internet then so we publicized our events with community organizing-style canvassing. Then we worked with kids face-to-face.

We'll be documenting this project in the History of Computing in Learning and Education Virtual Museum.
The copy of InfoWorld Magazine (Nov. 23, 1981) inserted on that web page has three references to ComputerTown in the middle of it. Click on the Contents box in the upper right of the insert and then Search for ComputerTown.

We're looking for interns (unpaid) to help build out this exhibit and others. We have lots of paper materials but creating appealing online exhibits take time, thought and skill. Our goal is to make this information accessible to the same folks who are skipped by contemporary CS outreach efforts.

The LO*OP-CTUSA! Archive


Because Liza worked on the ComputerTown project for 2 years and saved its archive, HCLE has lots of material on it. We'll add to this page little by little, then design a coherent exhibit.

So far we haven't found a readable copy of the ComputerTown Final Report to its funder, the National Science Foundation online.

The Book


Borrow a copy from the Open Library


References to CTUSA! found on the Internet


The copy of InfoWorld Magazine (Nov. 23, 1981) inserted below has three references to ComputerTown in the middle of it. Click on the Contents box in the upper right of the insert and then Search for ComputerTown. The rest of the issue is pretty interesting as well.


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