The meeting took an amazing turn. As my 20time project emphasizes networking the business and service entities, which is lacking, Jim and Donna mentioned all the digital noise that each business is feeding to the visitors. They suggested that I focus most of my efforts on the networking on our end (between the organizations and businesses), and less on the outreach and advertisement to the visitors, who already receive a lot of "noise" and information. That will be something that each business will have to manage on their own, but the intercommunication between each other might help eliminate some of that noise.
In addition, Jim and Donna mentioned the issue of a weak infrastructure on Catalina. Tourists often come over via cruise ships or Catalina Express and seek out WiFi connections (as some cell phone providers have very weak signal on the island), but there are no public access points! Some hotels offer Internet, but only to guests, and Catalina has a large number of day-trippers who simply want to utilize WiFi and not use up data. Most businesses lack an Internet presence with WiFi in their own stores, and this led to a GREAT suggestion: using Catalina Broadband to create "Internet cafe" stations throughout select coffee shops and bars, funded by advertising or a rate plan that customers could use with credit cards. This would boost business, and also tie into the communication ability between the businesses. They need a great infrastructure to do so, and representatives of Catalina Broadband have mentioned they have that ability. I am in the process of setting up a meeting with Catalina Broadband and extending this idea.
Just imagine: customers log into the WiFi at local coffee shops, restaurants and bars. They are provided a link to a platform that showcases all the of our created websites for select businesses and service organizations who choose to participate. Visitors can see the communication and collaboration taking place between the island entities via the blog pages and/or social media maintenance, as well as the connection to the school students (students who are participating might have their name and/or photo with link to school-based blog page on the footer of each assigned blog page. This would need to be addressed in a photo/video release form through LBUSD, and comply with the AUP, but is necessary for authenticating the students' work). From business personnel, visitors, to students, everyone would be better informed and practice synergy.
One issue that Jim addressed is the time factor, and how the students would manage this. Sustainability is key, even when students find themselves being very busy. I suggested that it be a club and not course work, as this would be something that is definitely extracurricular in nature. I would facilitate my students' time management and hold them accountability to the tasks at hand. We would debrief and refocus efforts on a weekly basis.
New Ally: Thomas Cemo
Week 5 work will entail tying all loose ends together. I need to continue to meet with local business owners, service organizations, Catalina Broadband, student representatives, and Thomas. I will touch bases with Drew Mauck and also maintain communication with Jim and Donna and the Catalina Chamber of Commerce.
This is turning out to be a real "wicked hard" problem, but one worth fighting to solve.