At the end of March 2020, we were starting to get into the full impact of Covid-19 here. People began to stay home and schools like Rio Rancho Public Schools were assessing impacts. In an effort to help bring the Native American families together (like school district students and families) using technology, I started a group on Groups.io called Rio Rancho Native American Families (RRNAF). Over the subsequent months we have managed to pull together many people and now hold weekly coffee talk meeting on Saturdays to talk about our various concerns. It’s been very useful to talk informally to fellow native parents and students to see what is happening with each other, compare notes about the realities of school now, and learn how we can leverage each of our talents. RRNAF is an open group, so if you are interested in joining, just click the link above.
I live in Rio Rancho, New Mexico and my kids attend the Rio Rancho Public Schools District. One of the changes that have happened over the last couple of years in the district is the adoption of the Google Education infrastructure and the use of Chrombooks throughout all the schools. I’ve seen investment in classrooms where teachers now have over 30 chromebooks to use for classroom instruction.
With these changes, what I have not seen is any general education for the students, siblings, or parents in the community (and surrounding tribal communities). I decided to try and change that with the free resources available through the City of Rio Rancho.
I am a volunteer with the city and this enabled me to teach my Raspberry Pi classes in 2017 at the Loma Colorado Public Library. This library has great resources … rooms, tables, chairs, laptops, monitors, keyboards, mice, and great internet bandwith! So all I really needed to do was schedule and coordinate to get this new set of classes started.
One of the challenges in starting anything new is awareness, so I decided to use the Meetup.com to raise awareness initially, then moved on to a email list. The email list page is at:
We had our first class/meetup on July 27, 2019 at the Loma Colorado Public Library Auditorium, I brought 12 Chromebooks for folks to use … we had 11 people attend, some hands on time, and many questions around the Chromebook and Google services. I was excited about the attendance and am looking at holding this class once a month for now and maybe more frequent based on interest and demand.
I will be scheduling new meetups or classes via meetup.com so, keep an eye on this website for new events or check out to the library calendar.
My son Kyle participated in the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation’s “Health Kids! Healthy Futures! Native American Youth App Contest”. He teamed up with his friend Kaiya (who is homeschooled), to develop a mobile app idea targeted at Native Youth to help combat Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity. Their mobile app design (previous blog post here) was selected for the final round and combined with a third applicant’s idea to incorporate exercise and meal information. The three students then worked for another 6 weeks with a local software development company, 11 Online, to see their design become a reality and a minimum viable product (MVP) was created. Kyle and Kaiya split the $1750 prize money with the third participant, a native high school student from Albuquerque. Along with the award ceremony, we had a wonderful plant based dinner from ItalityNM.com from Jemez Pueblo, NM.
It was fun coaching Kyle and Kaiya through parts of the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking process to develop user desired outcomes to battle childhood Type 2 Diabetes and Obesity. All the players worked hard to develop the Mobile App MVP … please take the time to look at the photo gallery below and small video showing the early modeling of the app.
Here is the Figma link that the video was made from (not sure how long this link will be good):
This last weekend (Saturday 2/25), I held my first Introduction to the Raspberry Pi Hands on Workshop at the Loma Colorado Public Library in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. I had a total of 8 attendees (full house) ranging from youth to adults that wanted to know more about this inexpensive computer. Feedback was great and it ranged from having a great experience with a new educational computer to interest in physical compute (using the GPIO pins) and more advanced topics.
I am looking forward to refining the content for the future hands on workshops for the following teach dates:
I also want to thank the City of Rio Rancho and the Loma Colorado Public Library staff, the facility is a great place to teach about technology, the support was awesome to make this event happen, and the internet access speeds are some of the best in the state!