Tincan uses information technology and interactive media for education and community development. We accomplish this broadmission by
- creating online content of value to our community;
- developing innovative training and education opportunities; and
- collaborating with local partners to provide access to digital technologies for those who might otherwise not be able to benefit from online information.
The concept for Tincan began at a public meeting in 1994, where representatives from business, health care, media, education, community-based organizations and individual citizens identified a need for a public access computer network that reflected community interests. Begun at Eastern Washington University, a 1994 grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce allowed the network to go online. Tincan’s original focus was equitable access to telecommunications and computer technology. While still supporting access, our focus has become developing meaningful content in support of the development of a vibrant community where online information is both readily available and useful to the region’s citizens. In late 1999, Tincan moved out of the university to become a non-profit organization. After a decade of growth, in spring of 2010 Tincan moved into a new facility that includes a 32 station media lab and a full video production studio.
WHAT WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT
Perhaps one of the best ways to introduce Tincan is to understand what we are passionate about:
- We are passionate about inclusion. We reach out to the disenfranchised – people who are homeless, who are in the juvenile justice system, who are struggling with their sexual identity. We understand that it is not simply lack of access to a computer or a Blackberry that disenfranchises people, it is the sense that they are powerless within the larger society. It is our essential belief that access means access for all.
- We are passionate about civic engagement, or more specifically, civic activism. We want people to know that they can make a difference, and that they can harness new technologies to make that difference. We want to not only make their voices heard, but to also give them the tools to change their community.
- We are passionate about science literacy. There is an epidemic of ignorance in our country reflected not only in our students’ abysmal scores on science tests, but also in the general populations unquestioning acceptance of purported science news. We want people to question, and to understand the science behind the pronouncements of both demagogues and media accounts.
- We are passionate about technological fluency. We want our participants not only to learn the latest databases and editing software, but also to be able to have a deeper understanding of the nature of technology that prepares them for the new technologies that will most surely emerge, often before they have mastered the current skills.
- We are passionate about history. We want people to understand the roots of community, and have easy access to sources of information that reveal their past and inform their future. We want to move history from locked drawers and musty libraries to the public sphere – the classroom and the living room.
- We are passionate about accountability. Too often programs have little evidence beyond attendance to describe the impact of their programs. We want to know not only who was there, but also what impact the program had on individual lives. Evaluation is a critical part of all of our program implementation.
- We are passionate about technology as both art and activism. While we want our participants to take a hard look at issues and act for change, we don’t want them to lose sight of the beauty of language or the elegance of image. Carefully crafted style bolsters the substance of the message.