Computer Clubhouses in the Inner City

Resnick, Mitchell
The American Prospect

Ever since the development of personal computers in the late 1970s, there have been growing concerns about inequities in access between technological haves and have-nots. Some groups have worked to close the gap by acquiring computers for inner-city schools. Others have opened community-access centers, where youth and adults alike from inner-city communities can use computers at little or no charge.

The Computer Clubhouse of Boston, organized by the Computer Museum in collaboration with the MIT Media Laboratory, grows out of this tradition-but with important differences. At many other centers, the main goal is to teach young people basic computer techniques (such as keyboard and mouse skills) and basic computer applications (such as word processing). At the clubhouse, in contrast, the goal is for participants to learn to express themselves fluently with new technology.