Last week marked the last MetroEast Welcome to Computers for 2019! If you’ve ever had to research something online or send an email, you can imagine how difficult navigating society without access to the internet or basic computer skills.
This six-session computer literacy course results in participants receiving a refurbished laptop with one-year of tech support from Free Geek upon course completion.
The digital literacy portion of the course is aimed at developing core computer skills, connecting these skills to relevant content and services online, computer ownership and low-cost home broadband adoption. Training topics range from a basic introduction to the laptop, mouse and keyboard mechanics, getting started with the internet and email privacy and safety.
MetroEast acknowledges the diversity of our community and is committed to providing culturally appropriate computer literacy education. In 2019 MetroEast served 52 people, 80% of whom are women of color, 90% from low-income homes, 95% had no high school diploma or GED. We have delivered digital literacy courses in Oromo, Swahili, Tigrayna, Somali, Kikuyu, Amharic, Rohingya, and English, serving participants from nine different countries.
We continuously improve and modify Welcome to Computers, depending on the needs of our participants. In the past year, we created two different versions of the workshop, an image-based curriculum for low literacy participants with an emphasis on developing typing skills and finding free language resources. The second curriculum is geared towards college-bound students and focuses on online education norms, free collaborative learning websites, and financial planning resources.
In 2019 MetroEast worked closely with community partners by integrating Welcome to Computers into their existing programming. For example, we conducted Welcome to Computers parallel to Rosewood Initiative’s English class. By conducting courses on-site, we were able to maintain enrollment and attendance, eliminating some of the transportation issues participants face.
MetroEast Community Media is committed to closing the digital divide in east Multnomah county. As we move into 2020 we take the next few months to integrate feedback from our participants:
- * add and expand Welcome to Computers
- * modify the format to better suit schedules
- * train community members to lead language-specific workshops
- * develop news literacy and social media privacy