Back to BASICs: Computer help group has new name, same drive to help build skills
HOUGHTON?- It’s an hour before the Portage Lake District Library opens, but if you enter through the side door, you’ll see a group of Tech students and community members already hard at work. They bow over smartphones, tablets and laptops, deep in conversation. They’re here to teach, and to learn.
This is BASIC (Building Adult Skills in Computing), formerly known as Online at the Library. The group meets on Saturday mornings while Tech is in session.
Though its name has changed, the group’s mission has remained the same – to help answer questions for, and teach computing skills to, community members.
Another faculty member helping out Jan. 23 was Kelly Steelman, an assistant professor in Tech’s department of cognitive and learning sciences.
She’s been working with the program for a year, but she didn’t originally intend to become a tutor. Instead, she entered her first session hoping to gain insight on where to take Tech’s program, and see if there were technologies that could be developed to help older adults interact with technology, or to help the student tutors help others.
“I’m really interested in how people use technology, how they pay attention, and how we can get them to find the things that they’re trying to find and design technology in such a way that people aren’t getting lost,” she said.