Tag Archives: Food

A Problem You Don’t Have…

14 Nov

If you’re reading this post, you probably don’t need to attend RASAG’s IT Club…

Free internet access is thankfully on the rise, but when so many of us are connected at home and out and about on smart phones, wireless devices and WiFi it’s hard to imagine having to make an appointment to get an hour online. Having secured one’s hour at a library, community learning space or similar, the task of logging onto the system and navigating away from the homepage is likely to take a sizeable chunk out of the designated time. Even for the most seasoned cyber surfer under an hour will be at best a couple of emails, bit of a nosey on facebook and possibly some gentle Youtubing. Or of course if there are serious tasks to be done, you could perhaps search for and download the details of a job or two, investigate your car insurance or plan a journey. So what about people who don’t know how to set up an email account, or use Google or open a programme?

With thanks to Sheffield City Council’s now closed Small Grants fund RASAG has been running an IT club on Mondays,11 – 3 at Sharrow Old Junior School. The grant which we received in March enables us to hire the IT Training Suite (£25 p/h), to buy a small amount of teaching resources and to refund bus fares to qualifying participants, ie. those who are unwaged or entirely without income. Thanks to an element of match funding from the Community Forum, we are also able to provide a hot lunch. The combination of transport assistance and food makes us an ideal facility for anyone who does not have personal internet access and who is on a tight budget.

RASAG IT Club is open for everyone, whether they’ve never switched a PC on in their life or they’re written an encyclopaedia on computer engineering. The four hour time slot means that anyone who attends is able to secure a meaningful amount of time online and have free use of a printer. All IT clubbers are encouraged to help each other out and if they are not in need of help themselves, they will certainly find they are able to help others. Top priorities include getting everyone set up on an email account and using this and other medium as a form of communication; a simple example of this would be new email users exchanging messages with each other. Today we established a group blog and six IT clubbers are authors so far, see http://rasagcomputerclub.wordpress.com/

Literacy is the greatest barrier to learner progression and enjoyment at IT Club, so reading support is the key need within the group. If a person is literate in any language, they will be able to use a computer and may have ESL needs that can be addressed with online activities. However, if the person cannot read any language, then ESL activities will not help them to use a computer. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the IT Club ensures that everyone gets a chance to try new things, learn and practice new skills and meet people who learn in different ways and all have something to teach.

Some of the things that have proved to be important to IT Club goers so far include having access to music and videos from other cultures, using email, facebook, twitter and other platforms to communicate with people and being able to download job applications, funding applications and print coursework and formal letters. It’s so satisfying to see facilities being used and enjoyed, and a wide variety of people gaining substantial benefit from them. Viva IT Club!