Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Digital Literacy Lab

This fun, educational tool and opportunity for youths and others can, of course, be adapted at any technology center, junior college or university.  Think about the possibilities in your area!

Dr. McGowan emailed to tell us about the possibilities below for Oklahoma City youths and residents.  She says, "I’m not sure if you’re familiar with the Intergenerational Computer Center at Oklahoma City University, but I was writing to see if we could support any of your afterschool and/or weekend activities for the 2013-2014 school year with our free resources. I’ve attached a listing of our free classes so you can learn more about us."  Also, published a story below.

Oklahoma City University Intergenerational Computer Center seeks to improve digital literacy

Located on the north side of the Oklahoma City University campus, the Intergenerational Computer Center gives classes in computer skills for all age groups, and also provides a place for anyone to find a computer. The center is funded by a three-year federal grant, which runs out later this year.

Erick Cifuentes, 12, from the Boys and Girls Club learns how to edit a video in a computer class at the OCU Intergenerational Computer Center on Monday.


Video link

“I couldn't figure out how to make it work,” she said. “I'm definitely going to try it again today.”

Nichole, 10, is part of a group of Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma County students taking a video editing class this week at Oklahoma City University's Intergenerational Computer Center.

Located on the north side of OCU's campus, the center gives classes in computer skills for all age groups, and also provides a place for anyone to find a computer. The center is funded by a three-year federal grant, which runs out later this year.

Every day this week, a group of Boys and Girls Club students will be at the center to learn to make video presentations. Devion Jackson, one of the students, said Monday's class covered putting photos with music.

Devion, 13, said he's interested in video. He'd like to make more elaborate movies after he masters the skills, he said, but his home computer doesn't have video editing software. He said he was pleased the center gave him the chance to learn to edit video.

The center opened in January 2012 after completing a pilot phase in the fall of 2011. The center is funded by a three-year, $1.4 million stimulus grant through the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. OCU provided $747,000 in matching funds for the project.

That grant runs out in September, leaving the university to look for other sources of funding to sustain the center, said Teena Belcik, the center's project manager. The center has received grants from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation and United Way of Central Oklahoma to sustain the program, she said.

The program's role is to increase the community's digital literacy, Belcik said. Because computer skills are an increasingly important part of communication, learning and finding work, those without those skills tend to be at a disadvantage, she said.

Younger students are often assumed to be digital natives, Belcik said — they've learned those skills simply by growing up around computers. But many of the children that use the center come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, making them less likely to have computers in their homes, she said.

Besides lacking a way to develop computer skills, having no computer in the home also creates more immediate problems, Belcik said. Many of the students who use the center need a computer because their teachers post homework on a class website or ask students to submit assignments online.

Students without access to a computer don't have a good way to complete those assignments, she said.

Among a range of other services, the center also works with adults who need to improve their computer skills. The center offers certification courses in Microsoft Office programs, as well as classes on topics like how to build a resume or search for jobs online, she said.

Removing the barriers to digital literacy doesn't just include improving people's access to computers, Belcik said. It also means teaching them how to use them effectively.

“We are trying to bridge both pieces of that,” she said. “We feel like there's really a need there.”

Article Photos: Oklahoma City University Intergenerational Computer Center seeks to improve digital literacy

Some of the August classes include:
ESL, Excel, MS Word, Make a Google Sites Website, Making a Prez Presentation, Twitter for Non-Profits and Community Groups, Picassa Photo Editing, Windows Movie Maker, Google Docs, QuickBooks for Non-Profits, etc.  'More on this resource in another post!

From the OKCU website at

"Connecting You to a World of Possibilities!"

"Dear Oklahoma City Community Members,

Thanks to a $1.4 million public computer center grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Oklahoma City University has created the Intergenerational Computer Center (ICC).
The ICC provides free computer access and free training to patrons of all ages, from preschool through seniors. Three classrooms with 69 seats provide Windows desktops as well as Windows and Mac laptops. The computers offer a wide variety of software applications, and the latest in teaching technology.
A children’s area with age appropriate computer programs and educational activities is available so that families may enjoy the ICC together. Additionally, a mobile computer lab with 20 laptops is available to go out into the community.
A number of community organizations will be participating in the ICC, including the United Way, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, Positive Tomorrows, Sunbeam Family Services, Smart Start Oklahoma, and others.
The ICC is available to everyone in the community for personal use as well as to participate in classes. A wide variety of computer courses and resources are offered in the areas of:
 •Using the Internet
 •Computer Basics
 •GED Preparation
 •English as a Second Language
 •K-12 Tutoring and Educational Resources (primarily focusing on Math and Reading)
 •Teacher Professional Development (Smart Board, Smart Slates, and Smart Response Systems)
 •Early Childhood Education
 •Intro to MS Office Programs
 •Web Design
 •and More!

The ICC also partners with community organizations to support their programs with computer and Internet resources.
There are many ways to get involved and learn more about the ICC. First and foremost, we hope you will join us in the ICC whenever you are on campus! We also need volunteers who enjoy teaching, helping with community outreach, providing ongoing funds, and working with our community partners.

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions."

Dr. Veronica McGowan
Director of the Intergenerational Computer Center
Oklahoma City University
2501 N. Blackwelder
Oklahoma City, OK 73106-1493
(405) 208-6233

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