Meeting the technology gap

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September 15, 2020

For many adults in our community, lack of access to a computer laptop prevents them from taking an online learning class of any kind.  The Salinas Public Library's Adult Literacy Program came up with an innovative solution this past August when they began lending Chromebooks to adult learners who can now study at home and connect with Literacy staff and tutors online. Twenty-two Chromebooks were distributed last month to adults in the Adult Literacy Program who didn't have a way to access the Internet, or were competing with their children's school use for their digital devices. 

In the computer literacy training program, adults learn Google Classroom and access class lessons when it's convenient for them.  The interactive platform is supplemented with weekly Zoom check-in meetings that provide connection with other students, and with Literacy staff. Questions are answered, and real-time demos help clarify any confusion in using the new technology or with the classroom materials.  An added benefit of learning Chromebooks for parents is that they become more familiar with the same technology their children are using in school. 

"Working with Google Classroom on the Chromebooks has really helped me to navigate my son's distance learning," commented one parent.  Over the last four years, the Literacy Center's programs have put more than 400 internet-capable devices into the hands of participants, and continues to find ways to support local adults and their families while the library remains closed. The Chromebooks and other devices are paid for through grants from the California Library Literacy Services, and through a partnership with Loaves, Fishes and Computers, a local non profit providing computers to low-income adults.  Literacy staff also introduce adult learners to low-cost Internet offered through Comcast Internet Essentials. 

For more information, please call the Literacy Center at (831) 758-7916.  Bilingual staff are available to help adults interested in learning about this program.