Technology is quickly becoming a vital necessity to everyday life and CTCNet completely understands that. In fact, they envisioned this many years ago and was quite large in 1997. With over 175 community technology centers, they created an easy way for people of all walks of life to access computers and the internet.
Some locations that are members of the CTCNet are non-profit organizations, churches, academic institutions and the like. However, many are simply training centers, internet cafes, shelters and such. The ways in which open access to the internet can be shared are as varied as the reasons as to why someone would think of and develop an organization like CTCNet.
Apple recognized the work that CTCNet was doing and believed in what they were doing. In 1996, Apple gave CTCNet an admirable grant to 18 CTCNet centers. They again awarded them in 1997 in response to the request for proposals that were issued in December of 1996.
CTCNet believes that all people, regardless of race, religion or social status should have equal rights and access to technology and the ability to learn the skills to use it. It was founded by the Playing to Win foundation. They understood even in the late 90’s that technology was moving fast. It was going to become a staple to everyday life and that people who did not have the ability or advantage of using and learning these technologies would sooner or later get left behind in a sea of ever-advancing technologies.
CTCNet provides the means for foundations, organizations and programs to come together and give people who would normally not have access to computers the ability to use them, get hands-on-experience with them and get used to them. They do this in a safe environment that fosters a learning attitude, encourages discovery and builds self confidence in those who may otherwise never have the means to grasp the coming technologies.
CTCNet also provides these organizations what they need in order to further enhance their facilities, as well as the ability to encourage and influence other programs in the area to do the same.
CTCNet was well ahead of its time in its creation and vision. Today, technology is all around us every day. It’s at school, it’s at work, it’s at home… it’s in your local McDonald’s. Everywhere you turn you are surrounded by technology that many people would have never even thought of when CTCNet took it upon itself to make sure people would not be left behind.
Today it’s easy to see how technology plays such an important role in our lives. However, there are still people who have never used a smartphone. There are people who wouldn’t quite know what to do if they were required to sit down, create a new email account and send something off to their boss. Technology will only continue to grow and if people aren’t even caught up with the technologies we have now, how can they at all be expected to grasp the next generation of technology?
The Beginning of CTCNet
CTCNet is the brainchild of Antonia Stone. Stone was once a public school teacher and actually put together her own computer technology learning center in the basement of a housing development back in the 80’s. She founded CTCNet (the Playing to Win Network) in 1990. She received a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation in the 90’s that helped her to grow CTCNet’s services. She was able to bring in new members, which put the network on a path to becoming an independent organization.
By the year 2000, it had a National Board of Directors to represent the number of organization members and was declared a tax-exempt, non-profit organization in Massachusetts. It moved its main office to Washington DC in 2003.
In 2006, AT&T announced they were providing a $1 million grant to CTCNet in order to help give people with disabilities access to computers and technology. AT&T’s three-year initiative called the ‘AccessAll’ will give community technology staff members access to universal design and to provide assistive technology. This technology caters to accommodating a wide variety of learning styles, as well as different degrees of learning abilities.
CTCNet will only continue to play an ever-changing and important role in our society as we progress into the future and further into technology. There’s no doubt that they’ve been the saving force of probably hundreds of thousands of people who very well likely may have never had even the tiniest chance of learning or using the technologies of today. We can only hope that CTCNet continues to receive the support and admiration that it has over the years.
Technology will never stop. Time will never slow. We may not be able to ensure every single person will always have equal opportunity to learn about technology, but CTCNet will always strive to ensure that as many as possible will.