DILP in Action

We have partnered with a variety of organizations and programs to support the general cause of digital inclusion across the state of Illinois.

Below are a few highlighted cases describing these events, which provide an overview of the types of activities DILP supports in terms of promoting awareness, building capacity, and establishing infrastructure for digital inclusion initiatives.

4-H Summer Youth Camps

4-H Summer Youth Camp at Emerson Elementary School in Cairo, IL
4-H Summer Youth Camp at Emerson Elementary School in Cairo, IL

Fab Lab staff and a team of 4-H teens led 7 multi-session camps in Southern Illinois during July 2015, where children ages 7 to 12 were exposed to 2D and 3D design, 3D printing, laser etching, digital embroidery, circuit design and mini-robots, vinyl cutting, and soldering. Camps and attendance at each are listed in the table below. Each participant made at least one creation each day they attended including at least one 3D print, a laser etching, and vinyl stickers. Most of the students also had experience with digital embroidery and building mini-robots.






Camp Location Dates Length Number Students
Vienna High School (Johnson County) June 1-4 4 ½-days 40
Meridian High School (Pulaski County) June 5-6 2 ½-days 11
Cobden Elementary School (Union County) June 8-11 4 ½-days 38
Mounds Extension Office (Pulaski County) June 12 1 full day 15
Metropolis Primary School (Massac County) June 15-18 4 ½-days 30
Emerson Elementary School (Cairo, Alexander County) June 19-20 2 full days

90 minutes



Shawnee Community College (Pulaski County) June 22-25 4 ½ days 28
4G STEM Camp – Bradley University (Peoria County) July 6-10 4 days 57
Extension Creative Community Commons (Champaign County) July 13-17 5 days 12
Community Explorer Camps (Peoria County) July 20-24 5 ½ days 11
Teen Design Challenge Camp (Peoria County) July 20-24 5 ½ days 5
Makers in Motion Camp – Peoria Riverfront Museum (Peoria County) July 27-31 5 days 14
Total 291

To see more videos from the camps, please
visit http://tinyurl.com/FabLab-Cobden.

Teen Teacher Training
Teen Teacher Training

Building Capacity with 4-H Teen Teachers

The Teen Teacher program is set up to be not only a key component of the capacity-building and sustainability plan in the Southern Illinois region, but is the centerpiece of the plan. Unit 27 teen teachers were recruited in January and February of 2015, 61 teens attended the first 1-day training in March, 49 attended the 2nd training day in May, and 56 completed all required paperwork and training. Twenty-six teens from six high schools – all five counties were represented – traveled to Champaign for a week-long Fab Lab training, campus tours, and team building activities.

Approximately 40 teens have assisted with summer programming at cooking camps, Fab Lab camps, or both. Six teens (3 from Vienna, 2 from Massac, and 1 from Century High Schools) were frequent assistants at multiple camps, have demonstrated high levels of competence, and have proven ready to lead several activities on their own. Four teen teachers completed all training, including the week at the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab in Urbana, regularly assisted with one-on-one teaching, and taught at least one small group of students. Two of the teens also led larger groups of students in one or more activities. In the DILP-staff estimation, this team of teens is ready to not only use a makerspace on their own, but also teach others to build and make.


The Extension Creative Commons (EC3)
The Extension Creative Commons (EC3)

Establishment of the Extension Creative Community Commons (EC3)

Alvarez Dixon, 4-H partner for the Champaign-Urbana-Danville region, has taken the lead in establishing a unique 4-H hangout space to enable underserved youth in the local area to mentor one another and take part in digital media production and manufacturing related activities. The DILP grant has shared resources, such as equipment, curriculum and expertise, to help Alvarez build the space and begin to run programming. The EC3 is collaborating with Martin Wolske, a DILP leader, through a service-learning project for graduate students in Martin’s summer Community Informatics Studio course.  Students from this course have met weekly with Alvarez to consider space design and programming.  The students in the course will likely work with a 4-H teen to co-develop digital media programming for EC3, and also develop plans for collaboration between the 4-H EC3 space and the Tap In Leadership Academy’s new hangout space being designed for their Randolph Street facility.