Transforming lives through digital literacy.

Training at Oak Springs residency

Thanksgiving is about celebrating the wonderful things in life — food, family, and friends. When preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, we reach out to our loved ones to invite them, search for the best recipes for tasty sides, and share photos of our celebration. In this way, technology has become a central aspect to the way we connect and celebrate.

As a CTN trainer, I have met many people who rarely celebrated technology. For them, using the internet can be a frustrating and seemingly impossible task. Even using a cellphone to capture photos of an event can lead to embarrassment and annoyance. Worst of all, many of the tasks seem easy to young people and other adults. It leaves many learners feeling like the world has left them behind.

But … conquering these issues is not impossible.

This year, I’d like to give thanks for the tremendous work my learners have put forth to cross the digital divide. They have gone out of their comfort zones to transform their lives with technology. They have put in the time and effort it takes to learn something entirely new.

I will be out of the country this Thanksgiving, but the distance gave me an idea: What if I were able to show my students how technology could still connect us? The class that I teach had just started learning about voice calls through their tablets, but it was hard to demonstrate when everyone is together in a classroom.

We planned it out: When I had arrived on the other side of the world, their class was just beginning! As I sat down in my hotel room, my cellphone started to ring. Within seconds, I was able to see my class in real time through the lens of their tablets. Everyone was elated! They finally were seeing how they, too, can harness technology in amazing ways. Suddenly, ten thousand miles disappeared, and we were able to have our own small celebration.

I would like to give thanks this year for my amazing students. They have doubted themselves, but they have never given up on their pursuit of digital literacy. They find creative ways to link lessons with their real lives. They make me smile and laugh while we learn about the strange world of technology together. They are making a journey many of them had previously thought would be impossible. We should never underestimate the will of a person who wants to change their life.

This year, let’s all take a moment to reflect on how technology has changed how we celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thankful for Technology

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Calvin Clites