Spanish Build Evaluation I

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Evaluation of the Spanish Build Program from Sept 21, 2010 to Nov 22, 2010.
Question Answer
Number of staff hours for the Spanish Build (SB) Program
  • Instructing SB = 0 staff hrs (it has all been volunteer hrs
  • SB Admin = 35.75 total (started logging in Sept)
Number of participants signed up for SB 13 (Two kids share one space). Four groups of three each.
Percentage of drop outs SB
  • 16.67% (12 people signed up, 2 people dropped out).
  • 2 people dropped out, but their spots were immediately filled.
Percentage of drop outs in overall Build ?
Hrs devoted to outreach

20 hours all unpaid. (Volunteers took on the majority).

Number of people on SB waiting list


Estimate of staff hrs to get a 2nd round 8-15 hrs a month for two staff program coordinators, and some wiki chart maintenance.
Estimate of staff hrs to get a 2nd shift Additional 2 hours per month total.

Stakeholder Testimonies

Pre-Build coordinator and staff backup
  • Richard - Vagrant's way of dealing with maintaining flow chart documents seems reasonable to do.
When System Eval is half full of Spanish Prebuilders, then there are English Prebuilders that they can teach each other. When it's nearly full of Spanish Prebuilders, there is usually only room for one English Prebuilder, which does not work so well as we like to focus on people working together.
One time at least, half the Spanish System Evaluators actually ended up going through Hardware ID instead of System Eval (at least for the first hour). They may not have been the same people who signed up for System Eval. On that day it did not disrupt Hardware ID as no one showed up for the shift, but it split the attention of the instructor into two places, and I think a few mistakes were made in System Eval as a result.
People do seem very excited and do seem to be getting something out of the program.
This has happened at a time when I am low on interns, so as often as not, it makes prebuild easier to run as a whole. But if I had a full complement of interns scheduled I wonder if they'd have enough to do when Spanish "replacement workers" walk in and do all the work. We might need to think more about alternate work for the English interns or something.
  • Vagrant - Overall, the spanish build program has been inspiring to me (and i think it's participants), and exciting to see freegeek expanded to serve :a larger community. My prebuild shifts, due to a very good instructor to student ratio, have often been far less crazy, and i've been able to put some additional time into updating flowcharts. There are times where communicating common issues is slightly more difficult with a language barrier (it becomes a bit of a game of telephone relaying the issue through the instructor, who then relays it to the system eval volunteer). Translating the flowcharts has been working well enough.

Build staff coordinators
  • Caitlin - Overall, the Spanish Build Program has been a success in the Build Room.
-Instructing: The Spanish-speaking Instructors have been almost entirely self-sufficient. I have observed great teaching techniques and one-on-one mentoring. Both Instructors and students appear to be learning and having a good time in the process. It seems rarely needed, but the Instructors are not afraid to ask questions of me or any other regularly-scheduled Volunteer Instructors.
-Quality Control: I have not done any formal analysis of this, but it seems like Spanish Build Instructors are on par with Volunteer Build Instructors in terms of overseeing quality building and signing off on boxes. I have seen some mistakes, but no more than usual. My hope is for Spanish Build Instructors to attend the next Build Instructor Training.
-Schedule: This goes fairly smoothly, but there have been some issues. Spanish Build Instructors have been late on multiple occasions which is problematic for the participants as well as the regularly scheduled Volunteer Instructors. My limited Spanish skills have just gotten us by, but it would be ideal if the Instructors showed up before we open. We should make sure all Instructors know that they can come in before we are officially open. There were also a couple of times when the people signed up did not reflect the reality. This is also true, however, for the Build Program in general. It might be a little more of an issue when we are actually blocking off space.
-Staff time in the Build room: My time commitment in the Build room has actually decreased during the Spanish Build shifts because there are so many Volunteer Instructors. I am easily able to leave for periods of times and work on other duties, or focus on other projects in the Build room.
-Volunteer retention: Volunteers recruited for the Spanish Build program are excited about Free Geek and moving on to Post-Build areas. Volunteers who were already in Build were offered a new challenging experience. The Spanish Build Program offered a great opportunity for growth for those individuals.
-Personal: Being involved with the Spanish Build volunteers has been fun and inspirational (plus I'm brushing up on my measly Spanish skills). I would like to see this program continue. I would also like to see us put together an amazing program evaluation process and use this program as a loose model for other pilot projects.
  • Meredith - I believe the Spanish Build program has thus far been very successful, in addition to making Free Geek more diverse and accessible to an under-represented group, and that it should continue and be supported by the rest of Free Geek.
I have worked extensively with the Spanish Build instructors, which has been a very positive experience. They all are very enthusiastic and committed to this program. While part of this constitutes the kind of person each of them is, I think it also is the result of good, strategic planning and coordination, *and* speaks to the importance of the existence of this program. The only mild challenge was, in the training of the SB instructors, that sometimes the Build room would be very crowded because they tended to all come in together. However, their willingness to help other volunteers and with other Build room tasks definitely outweighed this challenge.
Even non-Spanish Build instructors who are normally mostly ambivalent seem to think that this program is cool and a good thing for Free Geek. Elizabeth and Renee have done an excellent job in the planning, development, outreach and coordination of this program and I see no reason for it not to continue.
Spanish Build coordinators
  • Renee - Above all, I am wildly impressed with the Spanish Build interns' commitment to the program. They have shown responsibility and dedication beyond my expectations, and beyond the commitment that I see with many other internships at Free Geek. I feel that they have taken this project very personally and are committed to maintaining it. The majority of the Spanish Build instructors have themselves gone on to various post-Build stations: two in Mac, four in Advanced Testing.
The participants also have shown a lot of interest and commitment to showing up, or advising us if they are not able to show up. They have shown a great interest in taking advantage of this opportunity and have shown me that they have made their own notes and charts to study when they are at home. They have been interested primarily in knowledge and learning what the Build program has to offer and secondarily in earning a computer. There is an entire family that is in the Spanish Build program and they come in together to learn and work together. This is a a great accomplishment for any program at Free Geek, one that is tough to obtain, and very important, particularly in the Latin community.
There has been a lot of interest when the word has gotten out to people; many people in the Spanish speaking community were unaware of Free Geek or the fact that they could obtain for no cost the knowledge that the Build program offers.
  • Elizabeth - We have had more interest from the spanish speaking community to do Spanish Build Program than we can accommodate at this time. I feel that the amount of staff time devoted the program compaired to the amount of volunteers able to learn new skills from the SBP has been relatively modest and will become much more so now that we have laid the foundation of the program. I believe that if we add another shift we will double our outcome (the number of program participants) at a marginal cost of a few staff hours a month.
I think the program has shown success in attracting participants, producing highly competent bi-lingual instructors and good communication among staff involved with the program. The coordinators created a process that was very inclusive for the those putting the most time into the program, the bi-lingual instructors. Much of the outreach was done by the instructors reaching out to people in their own communities: social groups, community events, schools and churches. We have been very lucky to have such committed bi-lingual instructors. It is my hope that we can make the spanish build program a permanent program that will provide great educational opportunities to a diverse community.
Bi-lingual instructors
  • Salvador Larumbe - El ser parte de free geek, es realmente una experiencia agradable.
No tengo palabras para poder agradecerles que me hallan dado la oportunidad de a prender cosas nuebas, no todas las personas tenemos estas oportunidades y cuando se da tenemos que saber haprobecharla al maximo. El ambiente laboral y las personas que te rodean dentro de free geek son muy a mables. En mi punto de vista freegeek se convirtio en parte de mi familia, gracias.
Being part of Free Geek, is really a great experience. I don't have words to thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn new things, not everyone has these opportunities and when they come along you have to know how to take advantage of them to the fullest. The work environment and the people that surround me are very friendly. In my point of view Free Geek has become part of my family. (Translated by Renée Harger).
  • Keith Billings - I have learned a lot from the program, working with the other volunteers, learning Spanish computer vocabulary and also about Spanish resources in the Portland area and in ways that are difficult to put into words. Also I think I have learned a lot more about system eval itself.
The most important thing I have seen is how excited and energetic the students in the program have been -- their attitude of being ready to dive in and follow through the translated flow charts has been gratifying to see.
  • Victor Albarrán - Free Geek and my favorite hobby
A few years ago, I decided that my major and career was going to be related with computers, but I was not sure what computer field was the one for me. Knowing a little bit about computers, (just enough to play and use some basic programs), but like the idea that now almost everything is related with computers, and that I could have for sure a job in the future. That was before I came to the US, I had to start again here, work hard to survive. I started to take English clasess rigth away, when I finish the ESOL program and starting to take general clasess, it was time to talk with a school counselor about my path to a university and my specific mayor. I begin to search about different degress but could not make my mind, that is when my counselor suggest me to come to Free Geek and try the different departaments that offers to volunteer and start knowing more about what I like, which is computers. Now I am glad that I came here, I have been learning a lot from peers and instructors and as a instructor too. My passion is to help others, get back something to the community, also encourage people that are in the situation that I was, if I have had information about free geek and about a Spanish program, I would not have doubt to come. Lastly I want to say thank you, I am honored to work with such a awesome person that gives us a lot, to our community.
  • Ricardo - Mi nombre es Ricardo Varela, soy voluntario, instructor, traductor y uno de los coordinadores del Programa de Construcción en Español (Spanish Build Program).
Desde el comienzo de mi estancia como voluntario en Free Geek, opte por tomar el programa de Construcción (Build Program) porque me intereso el sistema, además de que era una buena oportunidad para tomar nuevas habilidades dentro del ámbito de la computacion. Durante ese proceso note que este programa estaba totalmente dirigido hacia la comunidad anglohablante, por lo cual entre platicas con algunos miembros de Free Geek ( Elizabeth Swager, Renée Harger) se llego a la idea de comenzar el Programa de Construccion en Español (Spanish Build Program).
Todo era incierto en un comienzo, porque no se tenia una estructura prediseñada. Pero todo empezó a tener forma poco a poco. Al principio se esperaba tener muchos problemas con los instructores, porque quizás pudiese haber poco interés de ellos o que faltaran cuando fuera requerida su asistencia, entre otras cosas.
Pero fue todo lo contrario porque los instructores se comprometieron muy a fondo, y comenzaron a tomar el Programa de Construccion (Build Program); y no solo se involucraron en el roll de capacitarse para ser instructores, si no también empezaron a ayudar con las traducciones de los documentos, aportando ideas y sobre todo envolviéndose mas en el la ideología de Free Geek.
Durante la convocatoria para buscar asistentes, me sorprendió como la comunidad hispanohablante se intereso por el programa. Recuerdo que durante los primeros días ya teníamos las primeras 6 personas que necesitabamos y la gente se seguía comunicando para pedir informes acerca del programa.
Todos los involucrados en el programa como instructores, coordinadores y gente que aunque no estaba registrada en Free Geek como voluntarios, estuvieron ayudando a que este programa saliera adelante.
Yo he presenciado todo la evolución del Programa de Construcción en Español (Spanish Build Program) y he constatado que este programa, contribuye y refuerza el objetivo de Free Geek, brindando computadoras, educación y entrenamiento laboral; tal y como dice su eslogan uniendo a la comunidad una computadora a la vez. Y ahora Free Geek, además de brindar una nueva oportunidad a la comunidad hispanohablante, también esta dando la oportunidad a las familias hispanas de tener una actividad que pueden hacer con todos los miembros de su familia; porque un factor común de la comunidad latina es crear el ambiente de unión familiar, y ahora Free Geek esta ayudando de alguna manera indirecta. Y hago mención de esto porque no solo en el Programa de Construcción en Español (Spanish Build Program) se esta dando, si no también en el Programa de Construcción (Build Program), porque familias que no fue posible que comenzaran en el programa de español, comenzaron en el programa en ingles con la ayuda de los miembros mas jovenes de esas familias que le traducen a sus padres del ingles al español. Todo eso son cosas que estan ayudando a la comunidad hispanohablante.
En todo este proceso, todos los involucrados hemos obtenido cosas nuevas; algunos han encontrado una comunidad donde se sienten libres y en la cual están siendo muy útiles, tal es el caso de Sergio, Luis, Salvador. Todos los instructores no solo hemos terminado el Programa de Construcción (Build Program) si no que también hemos pasado a post build porque deseamos que en algún futuro esos pasos también puedan estar en español.
Después de todo lo antes menciona solo me queda decir, que mi experiencia como voluntario en Free Geek a sobrepasado mis expectativas, y eso es algo que no pasa con frecuencia. En Free Geek no solo he encontrado una comunidad, si no que también he encontrado a nuevos amigos, nuevas conecxiones y he renovado mi espíritu de ser voluntario ya que durante todo el proceso crecí personalmente, academicamente y profesionalmente.
Le doy las gracias a Free Geek por brindar la oportunidad de desarrollar nuestras ideas, y espero que este programa se implemente por completo no solo en este Free Geek, si no que también sirva como modelo para que en las demás localizaciones Free Geek se implemente.
My name is Ricardo Varela, I am a volunteer, instructor, translator and one of the Spanish Build program coordinators.
From the beginning of my time as a volunteer at Free Geek, I chose to take the Build program because I was interested in the system, besides, it was a good opportunity to use different abilities in the field of computation. During this process I noticed that the Build program was entirely geared to the English-speaking community, for that reason, through conversations with some members of free Geek, the idea of the Spanish Build program was born.
Everything was uncertain in the beginning, because the program didn't have a predesgined structure. But little by little it took form. At the beginning it was expected to have many problems around the issue of instructors, because it could have been that the instructors lacked enough interest or missed shifts among other issues.
The reality was completely the opposite because the instructors were thoroughly committed and not only did they involve themselves in their own training, they also began to help translate documents, brainstorming ideas and getting more involved in the ideology of Free Geek.
During the outreach for the Spanish Build program, I was surprised how much interest we received from the Spanish-speaking community. I remember that during the first days we already had six people and people kept arriving and inquiring about the program.
Everyone involved in the program as instructors, coordinators and others, were helping so that the Spanish Build program would be a success.
I have witnessed the evolution of the Spanish Build program and I attest that this program contributes and reinforces the objectives of Free Geek, offering computers, education and job training, just as the mission states: connecting the community one computer at a time. And now, in addition to offering new opportunities to the Spanish-speaking community, Free Geek is giving Spanish-speaking families the opportunity to participate in activities together that strengthens the family unit that is central to Spanish-speaking cultures. In this way, Free Geek is helping indirectly , I mention this because not only in the Spanish Build program is this happening. The families that could not start in the Spanish build program due to no space availability, started in the Build program in English with the help of younger family members that were bilingual. All of these aspects are helping the Spanish-speaking community.
In this entire process, everyone involved have obtained new skills, some have found a new community in which they feel comfortable, in which they are making a positive contribution and being useful. All of the instructors not only have finished the Build program, but also have gone onto Post Build because we have wanted to continue with the opportunities that Free Geek has to offer.
After all of the above mentioned, I only am left with to say , that my experience as a Free Geek volunteer has exceeded my expectations, and that is not something that I experience frequently. At Free Geek I have not only encountered a community, but also I have found new friends, new connections and a renewed sense of spirit. By volunteering during the process of Spanish Build, I have grown personally, academically and professionally.
I give thanks to Free Geek for offering the opportunity to develop our ideas and I hope that the Spanish Build program will not only be implemented in Portland, but also used as a model for future programs in all Free Geeks.

Translation by Renee Harger).