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Learning computers can break down barriers

ICT Lab

Our Communication Skills with Computers course started last Thursday and the variety of students we have in the class is just wonderful. The course has opened the doors to a generation of learners in their wisdom years, predominantly women with English as their second language. None of these women have used a computer before and are keen to learn, amongst other things, how to communicate with their overseas family members by email. The two men in our class have some computer skills and enrich the lessons by sharing their questions and knowledge with everyone. It is a class with lots of laughter, lively discussion and translations through gestures and other students!

This generation of learners did not have the opportunity to be part of the IT revolution. Some have educational, language and fear barriers. They see their children and grandchildren use computers so easily and feel left out. They have wanted to know how to use a computer but, for most, this dream has been daunting. However, the fact that they have had the courage to come to our centre and enrol in a computer class is a fantastic step towards making their dream a reality.

Of course, I have heard plenty of excuses of why many of our local community’s elders don’t learn how to use a computer: “I’m too old”, “I can get my son/daughter to do this for me”, “I cannot speak English very well anyway”, but at the end of a computer course at RCLC there is a sense of pride and greater confidence within each person.

Last week the students began to learn about the parts of the computer. They finished the class by learning how to see their home countries on Google Maps. I have loved seeing their faces light up as they viewed their towns, villages and in some cases, their childhood houses, after 40 or so years here in Australia.

Today the students are typing up their own stories. Some are practising entering words using their class notes. Either way, they are learning how to use a computer just like they see their children and grandchildren do – and that’s a great feeling. Below are links to some of their first work with Microsoft Word that you can download and see for yourself what they are now achieving after only two lessons:

The next lessons will involve internet and emailing, and finishing off with some creative computing by showing students how to make their own greetings cards and calendars. More fun to come!

If you or someone you know would like to join a computer class, we will be having more courses in early 2011 – feel welcome to contact us.

RCLC Computer Trainer

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One Response

  1. Great post thx for sharing

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