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Expanding digital literacy throughout the Lone Star State

Longview, Texas (January 24, 2023) - Digital literacy is an essential competency in today's digital world. We use computers on a daily basis to pay bills, communicate with loved ones, go to school, stream our favorite shows, and much more. But some Americans lack the digital literacy skills they need to get the most out of technology.

What is digital literacy? The American Library Association’s digital-literacy task force defines digital literacy as “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.”

Connected Nation (CN), in partnership with AT&T, is hosting free in-person and virtual workshops across the county to improve digital literacy and train those in need of digital empowerment. A few weeks ago, on January 12, CN and AT&T hosted two of these workshops at Kilgore College in Longview, Texas. The topic was Computer Basics.

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Sandy Parra and CN employees Alek Argueta & Molly Weiner

Kilgore College administrators decided to take part in these workshops to help promote online success for not only their students, but other members of their community. Attendees came from all different backgrounds and had many different reasons why they decided to take part in the workshops.

Sandy Parra is a mother of seven who was born and raised in Mexico, but has been in Longview for the past 19 years. She has recently received her GED and is working toward becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

“I want to start classes to become a CNA but I need to know how to work a computer to do that,” said Parra. “I also want to be able to help my children with their school work. They are comfortable using computers, but I’m not as much. I want to be able to send emails like them and even use the new skills I learn in this course to help my community.”

During this workshop, Parra and the other participants learned how to use files, create a Word document, convert a Word document to an Excel spreadsheet, and how to use Google Chrome.

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Brenda Stanley and Alek Argueta

Another participant, Brenda Stanley, said she was interested in the course because she had little to no knowledge of how to work a computer and saw this as a great opportunity to learn at no cost to her.

After her husband passed away, Stanley’s children wanted to help her stay connected to her family and provide an outlet for entertainment, so they decided to get her a laptop. The only problem was that she did not know how to confidently use it.

“I was having trouble paying my bills online and staying in contact with my sons, but my instructor helped me figure that out,” said Stanley. “Now I can do it on my own and talk to my boys without having to call them on the phone!”

After every workshop, each participant receives a certificate of completion and a list of digital literacy and learning resources to refer to when they need extra help.

These workshops are a great resource for anyone who is new to computers or just wants to grow their online knowledge. CN and AT&T are proud to serve individuals and communities all over the country by bridging the Digital Divide and making digital literacy a priority for all.

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