Computer Literacy Initiative

Tech guidin’ the way

Writing a 213-page guide to computer use takes patience – seniors Joe Li, Albert Chai, Andrew Lee and Ricci Lam know that all too well. After beginning the research process in July 2013, the four seniors spent an entire year compiling a comprehensive computer literacy guide for their website, computerliteracyinitiative.org, with intentions to teach people of all ages about computer basics, software features, system maintenance and system hardware. Now officially recognized as a nonprofit organization, they spend their free time teaching at senior citizen homes and public libraries.

“[Teaching about computer use is] important because it utilizes skills I’ve learned, what I’ve learned about computers in the past – it takes those skills and applies them to the real world. It’s helped me hone more personal skills too – time management, responsibility and a bit of leadership,” Chai said.

The guide, titled “The Guide to Master Your PC,” offers an in-depth look at different uses of the computer, such as Microsoft Office, photo editing and system shortcuts. Users can download the guide on the website as a free resource for anyone looking to learn more about computer use.

“The guide basically summarizes what we’re going to teach. It is a manual designed to be all a person needs to know how to productively use a computer. We did have to do a lot of research for the specific names of keys or functions,” Li said.

The idea first came from Chai, who is proficient with computers and needed a way to earn CAS hours.

“I joined Albert because I felt like this would be an eye-opening experience and a change in which we would be the ones teaching rather than learning. But even though we teach others, we learn from the whole process as well. I thought I would learn more about myself and my abilities,” Li said.

Using the computer literacy guide as a supplement to their lessons on computer use, the four seniors have taught at several public libraries, including Pico Rivera Library and Diamond Bar Library, and the senior centers at Tyler Springs and Oakmont of Capriana.

“Our audience at libraries includes anyone who shows up and wants to learn about computers but the recommended age is anywhere from around early teens to seniors,” Li said. “Teaching others is a process in which the teacher learns too. While the audience gains knowledge about the topic of the day, we, the teachers, learn how to better our presentation skills. I enjoy knowing that we’ve not only helped others in need, but also helped ourselves in a different way.”

While the project was originally intended as a way to earn volunteer hours, it has slowly grown to encompass more than just that.

“It’s evolved into something more than just the CAS hours. It affects us personally and we really see the effect we have; I can see that they aren’t lost in computers anymore, and we teach them not to be afraid and embrace what’s changing in the world. They’re learning, and it’s exciting to see them learn,” Lee said.

By Alison Chang, Feature editor


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