Transforming lives through digital literacy.


CTN has facilitated a number of teach-in events with tech companies with the goal of bringing more of our clients across the digital divide.  Our Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) events are a win-win situation: learners who have mobile devices can get training from highly skilled volunteers. In turn, tech employees can get involved in the community and give back to those who truly value their help.

On July 26 and 28, CTN welcomed 20 interns from the tech company Quantcast to the San Francisco Downtown Senior Center to work one-on-one with seniors on their mobile devices. Spread over two days to accommodate the size of the volunteer group, the event saw a great turnout of over 20 eager learners who sought assistance with their tablets, smartphones, and laptops. On July 28, CTN introduced about 15 employees at Optimizely to several learners at IT Bookman Senior Center for another BYOD training.

Both groups of corporate volunteers showed much care and thoughtfulness in training the learners on using mobile devices. Some seniors had challenging computer issues that the interns worked through step-by-step with the learners. Everyone was really happy and grateful for all the help.

Learner Story

Fred is a regular visitor to the IT Bookman Tech Lab. His interests are old westerns and music, and he frequently brings his guitar to go to a private room to practice as a break from the computer. A perfect connection formed between Fred and guitar-playing, Optimizely teach-in volunteer Tony Caballero. They exchanged some old-fashioned, storytelling about music-making experiences. When Fred brought in his guitar and began to tune it, Tony jumped in to share a tuning app Fred can download on his phone to get the perfect C. Finding relevance is the key — in more ways than one!

What’s Next?

There are more teach-in events in the works! On October 1, CTN will welcome volunteers from TechWomen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, to the San Francisco Downtown Senior Center for another BYOD event. TechWomen empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in STEM from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. We are excited to work with the participants of TechWomen and hope this experience will inspire them to continue digital inclusion efforts at home.

On October 12, we will have volunteers from Quantcast assist seniors in checking their voter registration online, registering to vote online, and generally empowering them to use technology to be active and informed citizens.

Interested in helping people gain skills and confidence? Volunteer with Community Technology Network!

You Have a Match! Mobile Device Teach-Ins with Tech Employees

About Author

Heather DeSmidt