In this day and age, the computer is a central part of our everyday life. This speaks for itself, as you are undoubtedly reading this very article on the JACC website. From communicating with your community, to researching information, to applying for a job, adequate knowledge of the computer is oftentimes essential. This fact is frequently taken for granted as the computer continues to be integrated into more regions of our public and private lives. Thus, for many refugees and asylum seekers, who for the most part have had minimal or even no experience with the computer, this can create a grave disadvantage. Realizing this, the JACC decided to institute computer classes for those refugees and asylum seekers who wished to learn.
The class began in late 2015 with only one student. These one-on-one lessons were easier to navigate because there was only one level of proficiency to accommodate,
but more wanted to learn, and thus the class has grown. There are now two classes being taught by Melissa, the JACC’s computers instructor. The classes are split because of the wide range of computer knowledge amongst students. We often take for granted the amount we had to learn throughout our lives in order to become as competent as we are with computers. The first class is for those who have almost no experience. In this class, students learn how to use the mouse, how to type on the keyboard, and the basics of clicking one thing or
another. The second class is slightly more advanced, and has been learning how to use various tools the internet provides, like google apps, such as google drive and the drawing tool, which provide a way to present information, the google search engine, which provides a way to search online for useful resources for refugees and asylum seekers, and Email, which gives the ability to communicate. These tools are very important to one’s everyday lives, and the students are both very determined and very excited to learn.
The class is given a variety of resources online, including the posting of links to make navigation easier, and screencasts, video lessons for students on how to do certain things on their own. This helps build independence, which is one of the greatest benefits of learning how to use the computer. Because of the varying levels of language proficiency, many of the classes use a lot of visuals and demonstrations in order to teach, rather than just words. Overall, the class is not only useful, but can be interesting and fun, because the computer can be an incredible thing to those who have not grown dull to it. From just a one on one class in a cafe to two classes with internet and a projector, the class has come a long way.