Over the period of one year, 50 Curtner Studios residents and 30 El Paseo Studios residents have the opportunity to participate in a digital literacy class. The class has been funded through a grant from the California Public Utilities Commission in efforts to close the digital divide for residents in low income households. The classes will be conducted three times over the year, in groups of 10-16 residents per cohort. The residents that participate in the class, which includes 8 sessions, will learn the basics of using an IPad and connecting to the World Wide Web. Each resident that successfully finishes the class earns their own IPad.
The first set of classes were an incredible success! Fifteen residents at Curtner Studios and 13 at El Paseo completed the class. The completion rate was 100%. The second set of classes are wrapping up with similar success.
The class covered: Introduction & Orientation, Tablet Basics, Trouble Shooting, Internet Basics, Internet Safety, Email Basics, Social Media, Job Searching, and Online Learning. Some residents were familiar with smart phones and some were familiar with tablets. However, most had never owned a tablet before the class and most were clearly learning the most basic level of the technology.
The appeal of the classes may have been the IPad and internet connection. What has been amazing is the unexpected: the shared experiences, the shared frustrations, and the shared laughs. The topic was Facebook and how it can facilitate connecting with family. A woman (50’s) in the class shrugged and said “my family wants nothing to do with me!” then another woman (in her 60’s) said “Hey! same here” and then a third woman in the class (also in her 60’s) said “my family doesn’t want anything to do with me either! We are alone in this world!” One of the women said “No, we have each other now.” They laughed and nodded.