Transforming lives through digital literacy.


Not having a computer at home nor wanting one, James Johnson, a regular user in the computer lab, makes incremental advances each day towards his poetic creations. He comes equipped with his scraps of writing to transfer to specific word documents, depending on the poem he is shaping at that time. He assumes the role of a poet with a routine time set aside for writing and creating a piece of art which eventually reaches a finished stage to add to his collection.

Without paying attention to the idle chatter or learners’ voices asking for help, James maintains a concentrated posture to his craft, intermittently going back and forth to a thesaurus reference to select the appropriate word to include in a phrase. He has gotten good at establishing margins to create a specific layout for each poem. He did not always have these skills or knowledge because there were times when he was one of those learners asking and receiving guidance to structure his writing. As he puts it, “I don’t have time to waste time surfing, watching video clips, or commenting on various posts. My interest is clear-cut; my poetry drives my computer use.” ┬áHere’s a sample of what he means.

The new age is communication. We enter the game with conversation. Balls and strikes were the earliest editions. The umpire called you out when you knew it was over. You are now the umpire calling the balls and strikes or you could be the player busy running the bases, but the computer has entered the game setting standards with the rest. It can open the world for you and invite you to talk. Make a phone call is a sample; you’re talking to a machine. It’s neither good or bad. It’s simply what the people do. From typing a letter to checking an account, the computer can do things, folks would never have thought, such as talking to a friend since you’ve been grown. Talking to them sometimes can make you feel at home, and should you feel lonely. Your boy could be on Facebook, while you think of what he’s doing. He may just be trying to reach you. If you ever play the lottery you could check the numbers any time. It’s all part of this golden age and instead of cars it’s a computer that we drive.

Since James has become a computer lab regular visitor, he has published five poetry books. With several on eKindle, he appreciates the inspiration he has received from various folks and the muse in him which is a constant at play in the Center. He relishes the opportunity the lab affords him in having a place to convene, relying on a computer, printer, and tutors to assist at any given moment. “I appreciate having the youngsters from the college and the regular tutors here to help me when I need assistance. I’m not ashamed to ask for help. Western Addition Senior Center is a community that feeds me literally and figuratively. And thank goodness for Community Technology Network providing dedicated tutors that serve as a reliable support system.”

Learner Spotlight: James Johnson

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William Dean