I just got back from the NDIA (National Digital Inclusion Alliance) conference in St. Paul Minnesota, and I have lots of information and resources for us to use here in Kansas to help bridge the digital divide! The NDIA folks like to talk about a 3 legged stool as an analogy for digital inclusion – you have to have hardware (computers, devices), broadband access (high-speed internet that is both available AND affordable) and training (the ability to effectively use those devices on that broadband internet service to connect to needed information and resources). In service of one of those three legs, I want to share with you some of the resources that are out there (all free to use and to adjust for your needs) to help train your patrons to become digitally literate consumers of information and entertainment online!

So, with no further ado, here is the annotated list of digital training sources you all can use:

  • digitallearn.org – provided by PLA (the Public Library Association division of ALA), this free, creative commons licensed site provides information on the very basics of computer knowledge, including why to use a computer at all, with text that is geared toward a 6th grade reader and with translations available in Spanish
  • techboomers.com – this for-profit company provides LOTS of tutorials on how to use both computer programs and online apps – including Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and Hoopla as well as many others like Pinterest, Snapchat, Ebay, Paypal…. all geared toward the 50+ crowd, but perfectly usable for those younger, too! Check out the site to see the full complement of courses!
  • Learnmyway.com – a UK based company that provides free computer and software courses for use by anyone – courses include computer basics, job-finding basics, money-management online (online banking) and more
  • GFCLearnFree.org – this site includes not only technology courses, but basic literacy (both reading and math) courses as well. The courses are kept up to date and include stuff like Windows and Mac OS classes, Microsoft Office classes as well as basic Email and Internet classes
  • Partners Bridging the Digital Divide -> Training  – This is a resource center full of links to training for digital literacy, including something called Gail’s Toolkit, which gives you templates and re-usable handouts/presentation slides and other resources that provide a framework for your own classes.

Each of these resources above includes internet and computer safety courses – some more advanced than others – that would be useful for *any* of your patrons!

Finally – the one-stop-shop for computer class creation is the Northstar certification Libguide – click on any of the tabs to see a list of standards used in Northstar Computer Certification tests along with resources for teaching that standard to patrons. These standards along with the tools used to teach them, would be a fabulous start to a complete computer training/job skills course at any library!