“I discovered that technology is for everybody,” says bilingual digital instructor Jannette Estrada. “No matter your age, no matter what language you speak, no matter if you have any physical or learning disabilities — it just has to do with who delivers the material and how the material is delivered.”
A native of Mexico City, Jannette understands the challenges of learning to use technology when English is your second language. She spent years afraid to use technology and had little exposure to computers growing up. After immigrating to Oakland at age 12, Jannette remained wary. She recalls feeling confused in her high school media classes and ultimately decided that technology wasn’t for her.
Jannette went on to work in the restaurant industry for years — thriving in its high-paced, energetic environment. This all changed, however, when Jannette hurt her back and needed to reevaluate her career path. At the time, her mother was taking tech training classes at a local center and encouraged Jannette to learn digital skills. With some hesitation, Jannette joined a course for beginners. As she gained confidence, Jannette began organizing study groups and helping with the curriculum. Eventually, she joined the center’s enrollment associate.
Jannette soon realized that many others must be in the same situation she once was: intimidated by technology, hesitant to learn, and fearful of breaking an expensive device. She decided to use her story to empower others and took on tech training as a full-time job. Working with multiple organizations, she has now served more than 10 counties around the Bay Area and empowers more than 200 clients per year. Jannette’s wealth of experience made her the perfect candidate for CTN. We were glad to welcome her aboard last March as a bilingual digital literacy instructor for our Spanish-speaking learners.
To Jannette, the three components to a successful digital education are patience, observation, and practice. She keeps learners engaged by illuminating technical concepts with creative examples. “Every icon represents the functionality,” Jannette tells new learners. “It’s like when you’re driving, and there are the traffic lines and signs to follow. The computer is like a car, and the internet’s like gasoline.” When learners get confused or frustrated by a concept, Jannette reminds them that she once felt the same way and adds humor to keep them calm.
“We live in a digital world,” reflects Jannette. “And we have to share what we know so that others can learn. Sometimes what makes sense to us is not gonna make sense to someone else. So I try to be compassionate about technology with the community.”
CTN is lucky to have Jannette’s warm and passionate personality on our team! Want to empower your community? Consider joining us as a bilingual digital coach volunteer!