The Intel Computer Clubhouse was set up to bridge the digital divide for children in underserved areas who would not typically have access to technology. Intel Ireland wanted to make a difference in an areas that do not have the resources/facilities to engage youths in using technology in a hands-on fun environment.
The Intel Computer Clubhouse Network is a successful model that uses technology creatively to enable youth in underserved communities to acquire the tools, problem solving skills and confidence to be successful. This after-school programme provides a learning environment where young people explore their own interests and become confident learners through the use of technology. Intel has established three Computer Clubhouses in Ireland. The Computer Clubhouse introduces young people (aged 8 to 18) into the technology world. These are usually early leavers of the education system and those who would otherwise be excluded from information and communications technologies (ICT) and opportunities to participate in the digital economy. It provides high-tech equipment, professional software and adult mentors to help youths to acquire new skills and to explore imaginative ideas where they might previously not have had this opportunity due to their social environment. Some of the activities on offer include digital artwork, production of music CDs, filmmaking and web design. Mentors are drawn from third level colleges and business so that they can develop skills and personal attributes through the use of such technologies. A Computer Clubhouse is more than just a safe environment for youth; it is also a creative place where a "community of learners;" young people, mentors and staff, use technology as a tool for learning and creative expression. The philosophy of the Intel Computer Clubhouse is "beyond access," a place where young people use professional software to create computer-based projects inspired by their own ideas. The Computer Clubhouse provides a supportive learning environment where youth build skills and self-confidence, as well as a future, working together with adult mentors who provide inspiration and serve as role models. The Computer Clubhouse fills an important need in that young people from low-income areas lack access to the resources and opportunities they need to prepare for today's workplace. Gifted students, particularly from underserved communities, are generally bored and unchallenged in school. In addition, after-school discretionary hours, which account for more than 40% of Young people's waking hours, are being wasted. Intel provided all the funding for all the equipment (PCs, printers, software, games, sound system, furniture, setup costs, etc). Intel Ireland also has a sliding scale of funding in place to support the Clubhouse for the first four years in operation
Finding a viable host organisation and premisie can prove to be diffcult, its important to put the work in at the beginning and find a organistion with a good structure. The group need to prove that they can sustain themselves over time as funding is on a sliding scale over a four year period
Clubhouses are highly valued by their communities as they create a place of learning in a fun environment where valuable ICT and life skills can be developed. Reference research conducted by SRI International indicates that the Clubhouse program is having a positive impact. Of Clubhouse members participating in a recent survey, 89 percent actively participate in complex design projects, and youth who stay longer and spend the most time on the computers show strong positive outcomes on measures such as sense of belonging, sense of future, relationship with adults, and technical competence.
This website is part of a research project that explores new media and its possible role within women's community education. The women, who have participated in this project, all young single mothers, have returned to education having left school at an early age. They are part of The Mercy Family Centre. A centre which provides childcare for women, from surrounding areas, so they can return to further education. The Mercy Family Centre is based in the heart of the Liberties, Dublin