Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Award for Achievement and Perseverance - A Case Study from North West Sutherland

On 28 March 2013 local learners gathered for a 'Celebration of Learning and Perseverance'. The event was organised by a group started in October 2012 as a result of a partnership between Get IT Together and Helmsdale and District Community Association, with ten learners  in total have completed thirty weeks of training in use of the Internet and in basic computing skills. The Community Association also sourced a number of recycled laptops through the ReBoot scheme in Forres- which will remain in the community centre for community use: a real asset.

The group was taught by the very able Morag Black, a tutor with substantial experience in adult education and who students clearly adore. One learner stated ‘Morag has been incredibly patient- she works just at our speed and I never felt left behind’.  Morag has had to work extremely hard during her time in Helmsdale- not least when one of her learners arrived in class with a new computer running Windows 8- an operating system 'hot off the press' is always a bit of a challenge, and as this is a major overhaul, it is even more daunting than usual. Unsurprisingly, Morag rose to the occasion.

Before receiving their certificates, students demonstrated their hard work – with fantastic PowerPoint presentations, a recipe book, and a collection of reminiscences of times past. Students have learned a wide range of key skills – from emailing to Skype, and even managed to mail merge and create address labels for Christmas cards.

 The event itself was well attended, and although local Councillor Deirdre Mackay was unable to attend, she stated 'Congratulations to everyone who, as a result of the close partnership between Get IT Together and Helmsdale and District Community Association, are now confidently surfing and navigating their computers!

I'm delighted that this project has met with such success. Over the past few years there has been a steady demand for basic computing classes in Helmsdale.

'With the Internet now a firmly established way of life and a means of paying bills, shopping, connecting with loved ones as well as research, it is critical that everyone who wants to has access to learning how to use it.

'The Community Centre is well kitted out and a great resource for classes like this. In rural areas such as ours it is also important that people have access to as much learning as possible, as close to home as possible. Community Centres and village halls are ideally suited to deliver such a resource.'

Students were clearly pleased with what they have learned over the last six months, and keen to continue and discussed setting up a local computing club to keep up the technology momentum. There will also be, if numbers allow, a new class for absolute beginners supported by Get IT Together.

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