CTN CELEBRATES ANOTHER DIGITAL INCLUSION WEEK!
Every year, Digital Inclusion Week (DIW) raises awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices, local technology training, and support programs. Sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA), Digital Inclusion Week 2021 represents hundreds of affiliated organizations working toward digital inclusion and empowerment nationwide.
In years past, CTN celebrated DIW by hosting community trainings, advocacy events, meetups, and discussions. When the event went virtual in 2020, CTN’s director Kami Griffiths presented a webinar on Connecting the Unconnected for the Austin community. DIW 2021 included both in-person and virtual activities, with dozens of registered events happening around the country. To close out the week, CTN’s Kami Griffiths moderated a webinar event hosted by the Austin-based nonprofit Mission Capital. During the panel discussion, Kami spoke with other nonprofit leaders about how they have tackled the digital divide during the COVID-19 pandemic. In case you missed it, you can check out the full recording on YouTube.
Digital Inclusion Week is a wonderful opportunity to advocate for the unconnected and spread the word about the digital empowerment movement — and this year’s event was a huge success! “Our 600 affiliates came together to shine light on the digital divide, and we have reached more people than ever before,” said Angela Siefer, NDIA executive director, in a recent blog post. “We are no longer convincing people that this is an important issue. We are taking action. And it’s a beautiful thing to see in communities across the country.”
As our world becomes increasingly digital by the year, CTN is committed to ensuring that everyone — no matter their age, income level, or background — has the opportunity to reap the benefits of the information age.
As we tackle new projects and grant opportunities, CTN is motivated to ensure that everyone— regardless of their age, circumstances, language, or income level — has the skills necessary to use the internet.
SPANISH-SPEAKING LEARNERS CONQUER LANGUAGE BARRIERS
For those who did not grow up using technology, it can be frustrating to try to navigate devices and use online tools. For those whose primary language is not English, the challenges of technology are further exacerbated. Many technical terms do not have easy translations, and there are fewer multilingual resources available to learn digital skills. We recently spoke with two of our Spanish-speaking learners participating in our virtual digital literacy classes at San Francisco’s Mosaica Family Apartments. Both are natives of El Salvador and both have felt excluded from the digital world in one way or another.
When Max first got a smartphone, he felt frustrated that he couldn’t easily find the information he was looking for. When he went to the DMV to take his driving license test, the online format and screen made it impossible to focus on the questions. “It was very frustrating,” he reflects. “It used to make me feel really sad to see other people use electronics and not have the same knowledge.” Another member of the cohort, Nelly, had taken computer classes in high school. Now nearly 20 years later, tech has changed completely. “I felt lost whenever I had an emergency that had to do with the computer,” says Nelly. “I always had to ask my son for help.”
After completing their virtual training sessions with CTN, Max and Nelly began to use the internet with confidence. Max enjoys the larger size of the tablet, which lends him better access to internet applications and tools than his smartphone had. Nelly enjoys the independence her tablet provides her — frequently using email, making Zoom calls, setting up doctor appointments, and participating in church activities online. “Now I can help my son,” Nelly reflects. “I am showing him more about e-books and checking out books online from the library. I don’t have to use his device for my needs.”
We are always looking for bilingual volunteers to help these learners continue their digital education — check out our opportunities page to see how you can get involved!
COMMUNITY TECH NETWORK SPOTLIGHT
LEARNER: KAREN RILEY-MAIDEN
After working in social services for decades, Karen was already familiar with the basics of computers. She uses a smartphone to keep in contact with her kids and is familiar with navigating a device. At the same time, Karen recognizes just how quickly technology can change. Follow her journey as she quickly mastered the Senior Connect curriculum and became an instructor for fellow seniors learning digital literacy!
STAFF: LAUREN COTTER
CTN’s marketing and communications director Lauren Cotter is passionate about keeping seniors connected and safe. Recognizing there are a number of barriers to getting online, Lauren strives to communicate CTN’s mission in creative ways. Check out her experience working with CTN!
PARTNER: HAMILTON FAMILIES
In-person instruction makes it much easier to provide support to a mixed-level group, and it was such a pleasure to be back in the classroom,” reflects CTN program manager Josie Boyle. Read about our return to in-person instruction at Hamilton Families!