Transforming lives through digital literacy.


A television program about computers sent John Burns on a quest. “The TV said, ‘Don’t let the computer pass you by.’ I’m always looking for ways to keep busy and make my day go faster, so I decided to take a computer class,” said the Outer Mission resident. John’s search for a convenient, friendly place to take computer classes eventually led him to the 30th Street Senior Center’s computer lab and CTN volunteer Elen Nettlebeck.

When John started Elen’s class, he had only used a mouse a few times, which made it hard for him to navigate on the computer. Furthermore, he had some physical challenges that made using a mouse more difficult. Elen showed him how to use the BTOP computer’s touchscreen, since many seniors find them easier to use. However, John discovered that he didn’t like the touchscreens, so Elen showed him a method of holding the mouse that made it easier for him to control.

Now that John is comfortably using the mouse and keyboard, he’s able to use Microsoft Word to write stories and take notes about what he’s learning. John likes to print out and read Word tutorials between classes so he can bring his questions to Elen. John’s also learning about the Internet. He and Elen are talking about ways that he can use the Internet to listen to his favorite musicians, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Elvis Presley.

If you would like to see a calendar of computer classes offered by BTOP senior centers, please visitĀ If you are interested in helping older adults like John improve their computer skills, please emailĀ

Digital Literacy Client Spotlight: John Burns

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Kerri Shannon