Technology In The Field

Problem Statement

The more someone needs your help, the less likely they’re going to be able to come to you: you need to go to them. This may mean limited electricity, limited internet, language barriers, and more. In this session you will learn about some techniques we’ve used to “tech them where they’re at”.

Whether responding to disasters, conducting community trainings, doing street outreach, or providing onsite intervention support, some of our most important work is in places that are not designed for fancy office equipment. We’ll go over ways we’ve coped with challenges we’ve seen across a variety of situations, including:

  • Factors to consider in choosing a location
  • Designing laptop kits and modular sets for ease of support, use, transport
  • Working with a variety of languages and literacy levels
  • Getting internet access and networking
  • Dealing with heat, cold, humidity, dirt, curious goats, etc.
  • When to solve an issue by adding MORE technology, and when to solve it by reducing technology
  • Providing remote support and training non-technical staff in techie triage

We hope you’ll end this session with a realistic sense of the issues you may face, but also inspired by the fact that a little creativity, a little flexibility, a little cleverness can go a long way.

Nada O'Neal
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
VP of IT
Nada has worked with the ASPCA since 2013, in various roles, deploying with the Field Investigations and Response team over a dozen times. She is also a member of ITDRC. Prior to this, she was a Linux systems administrator.

Michael Byrd, JD
Kramden Institute
Digital Inclusion Fellow
Mike Byrd is currently a Digital Inclusion Fellow with the Kramden Institute. Over the last year Mike has dedicated his time to bridging the digital divide in three North Carolina counties through work with the local public housing authorities. This work includes organizing and teaching digital literacy classes and awarding computers to the residents of the public housing communities. Additionally, Mike hosts a quarterly best practices lunch and learn for digital literacy instructors in the Triangle area of North Carolina which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill. Prior to becoming a fellow, Mike was a self-employed consultant in the areas of strategic planning, community outreach, finance, and development. Mike earned his JD from Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, his MBA from Cleveland State, and his Bachelor’s Degree from North Carolina Central University.