We use the term “Digital Divide” to describe the fact that low-income adults are not able to afford computers or internet service and are therefore unable to access technology as well as they could.
Usually these adults are immigrants who know little or no English, the “low-beginners”.
Well, now there is a solution to this problem that includes:
- Teaching computer basics in adult literacy classes.
- Studying “user-friendly” programs in ESL instruction.
- Providing a means for students to own a low-cost computer.
- Using Smart Phones or cell phones as part of instruction.
- Providing texts, CDs, and DVDs.
- Advertising – publicity.
- Gaining access to funding.
I have been working on this problem in my classes at a public library for a year and now I have learned that my proposal to get a grant to expand my classes has received preliminary approval.
Libraries are important because they are usually part of a network throughout any county. I also intend to make my proposal to community colleges and non-profit community based organizations, which provide adult education classes. In this way hopefully a network can be formed that will, finally, Bridge that Digital Divide!!!
Thanks for sharing your progress, Paul. This is great. Working in collaboration with a range of community partners is essential during this time of limited resources. You may also be able to find individuals who are willing to refurbish donated computers and make them available for free or at low cost. There are some folks in my local area who are doing this. It occurs to me that technical schools might be able to partner on a refurbishing project as a means to train their students. We'll look forward to hearing more about your project.
Cheers, Susan Finn Miller
Moderator, English Language Acquisition
Yes, Susan, running a refurbished computer program is not too difficult. When people need to get rid of their old computers, usually they have to pay because it cannot be thrown in the trash. So encouraging people to donate to a good cause should solve the problem. Refurbishing can be as simple as deleting the previous owners personal files. Or used computers can be purchased from a Second Hand store. No matter what, any adut education agency should be able to include a Computers For Families program.