Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Closing the digital divide

We started last Friday with our first computation class, and it went really well! The curriculum went a little faster than planned because the women had told Nora that they didn´t know anything about computers or how to use them, when in fact most of them had some typing experience. One of the women has parkinsons, which gave her some trouble when it came to using the mouse, but she was quite proficient at the keyboard, because she had used a typewriter as a secretary some years ago.

The curriculum has changed dramatically since I put it together before leaving Austin. It´s now a 12 hour curriculum instead of 4. I haven´t hammered out all of the details for the last three classes, but in the first three hours the women learn basic typing skills and use MS Word templates to make professional looking recipes (We thought it would be nice if they could take home something they created at the end of the class that they might have some chance of actually using).

They had all heard of MS word before, but never used it. In the first class, we had them type recipes from memory, but many of women made recipes that were far simpler than I had anticipated (like two ingredients with two instructions), allowing them to finish typing their recipes way faster than we had antipated in planning the course. So, instead of having them type recipes from memory, I´ve printed out some sample recipes for the next class so the women can just copy new recipes directly from examples. This way they'll also leave with a recipe they didn´t know before the class.

More updates to come. Until then, salutations from Cajamarca!

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