Advancing Digital Literacy in Houghton, County, Michigan

For those new to technology, the Computer Help for Adults program at Portage Lake District Library is unlocking the unknown. Residents come from Portage Lake in Houghton County, MI as well as surrounding towns to work one-on-one with students at Michigan Technological University (MTU) to learn about new devices. The Computer Help for Adults program is one of many initiatives in Houghton County that has awarded them status as a Connected certified community. Houghton County celebrates their achievement in June, becoming the second Connected certified community in Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula.

Every Friday morning at the library, students at MTU become instructors and help participants navigate a variety of devices and applications. Instructors include both undergraduates and graduate-level students in Computer Science and technology-oriented Humanities majors. While the students have grown up immersed in the Information Age, to many of the participants of the program, everything is brand new.

“For people being presented with technology for the first time, it is a tremendous shock and there’s a lot to learn,” said Charles Wallace, associate professor of Computer Science at MTU and faculty organizer of the program. “Digital literacy is our number one priority.”

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