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Digital Clubhouse Network
"using the power of networked multimedia to build better communities."
 
Digital Clubhouse Network
The Digital Clubhouse Network is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to "using the power of networked multimedia to build better communities". It seeks to achieve its mission by assisting civic entrepreneurs create environments where users and makers of networked multimedia products and services can meet to define the future together in ways that help the broadest numbers of people participate productively in the Digital Age, regardless of age or socio-economic background.

More specifically, the goals of the Digital Clubhouse Network are:

-- to identify innovative ways of accelerating the spread of digital literacy among all members of society to help close the growing gaps between information technology "have's" and "have not's" and "want" and "want not's", by mobilizing youth to teach people of all ages how to gain access and understanding of networked multimedia and how it can be used to improve their daily lives;

-- to provide organic testbeds and ongoing focus groups for developing applications of networked multimedia technologies that respond to real world needs in education, commerce, health care, entertainment and social services;

-- to facilitate the development of a shared awareness and understanding of rapidly evolving information technologies, such as the Internet, among the broadest spectrum of society, with special attention to the interests and needs of youth, seniors, educators, women, small business, and people with disabilities;

-- to provide a real world, real time "living lab" and "ideation chamber" for attracting and stimulating entrepreneurial organizations and individuals able to create new employment opportunities based on 21st century job skills;

-- to define templates, processes, methodologies, and practical guidelines that can be used as a model for replicating and sustaining similar environments in communities everywhere and that can be linked together over the Internet to create a global network of shared experience.

The Digital Clubhouse Network seeks to respond to issues that effect the lives of the broadest, deepest community of potential users of networked multimedia: youth, educators, women, seniors, the disabled and emerging companies. Each Digital Clubhouse fosters local programs to reach out and involve these constituencies in its development and ongoing operations.

The first prototype Digital Clubhouse was created by a group of civic entrepreneurs, volunteers, information industry leaders, and NASA Ames Research Center, at the epicenter of the global networked multimedia industry. Nearly 4000 individuals have attended programs at the first Digital Clubhouse during the last two years.

The Digital Clubhouse experience called Producing the Producers, in which participants create a portfolio of short multimedia productions and a 10-page Website, based on stories from their personal lives. All of these "digital storytellers" are responsible for training at least two other Producers, each of whom in turn must fulfill the same commitment with two others. Special interest versions of this popular program are now being sponsored that deal with women's issues, cancer recovery, problems of the disabled, and other topics.

The Digital Clubhouse Network also designs and offers programs that assist their communities develop a better understanding of the possibilities of the Internet, such as Webucation for New Netizens and other programs to help teachers, students and parents better understand the resources of the Internet and how they can be applied to their personal and professional lives. Cousins of the Clubhouse, a major project to "export" the Clubhouse model to K-12 schools in the Bay Area is now underway to enable them to create a cross generations "digital oasis".

Having demonstrated the effectiveness of the Digital Clubhouse model, the Digital Clubhouse Network is now in the process of identifying ways to help other communities establish a Digital Clubhouse and a network of Clubhouse Cousins in their city or neighborhood, by providing consulting and networking assistance. The ultimate goal of the Digital Clubhouse Network is to create a global network of Clubhouses and affiliates throughout the U.S. and in several foreign countries, all linked by common Intranet through which they can share each others learning experiences and ideas.

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