The fourth session of our Ready, Set, Connect! program (RSC) wrapped up last week with another 18 amazing young people completing the 8-month program and helping over 1,000 fellow community members in Oakland! RSC program participants were expected to complete writing projects in addition to helping patrons in the library branches and attending weekly professional development sessions. Below is a piece written by Lynesha Williams, pictured here with Program Manager Andrea Guzmán, when the group had a tech trip to OTX-West last month.
Technology is such a vital tool and skill for both adults and children. I have been honored to teach digital literacy to adults as a digital literacy trainer at Eastmont Library with the Ready, Set, Connect! program. I have also lived my dream of teaching students for the past three years. I started off teaching seventh-grade math my first year of teaching, and for the past two years, I have been teaching reading, writing, math, and science to third-graders. I understand teaching technology for both adults and families, and what I learned and observed at OTX is vital for families in Oakland. OTX not only provides a desktop computer, they also provide internet access to students and families all over the bay. Having access is so important for students’ education. There are a number of assignments and tests now done online using computers, starting in the third grade. As young as 8-year-old students are expected to read, annotate, and write on the computer. During these times, my students have struggled most when it comes to typing. To prepare students for an increase of technology in the classroom as well as online computer-based tests, I have introduced my students to Typing Club and Google Classroom. Both sites allow for interactivity and independence.
OTX, like RSC, is working together with the communities in which we serve to close the digital divide. It’s all about education: teaching and learning, access as well as opportunity, that allows adults and children to learn fundamental skills. OTX also allows community members to volunteer for providing upgraded desktops. Volunteers organize, sort, and help to test the functionality of the desktops. The desktops are loaded into a truck 50 at a time and travel to schools for technology fairs. Once instructors give parents the necessary information for turning on and off and accessing connection to the internet, families must complete three additional classes before they are granted a desktop to take home. This is a remarkable service provided for many different schools and families.
Help yourself or someone else cross the digital divide. Go to www.otxwest.org, visit the OTX-West location at 1680 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94607, or call 510-893-4822. Let them know Ready, Set, Connect! sent you over!