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New class in Columbus to teach computer literacy

January 6, 2019

The ability to use a computer is something a lot of people take for granted, and for some who didn’t grow up with access to the technology, it can be a struggle.

As computers and the internet become more and more prevalent in people’s work and everyday lives, the Platte Valley Literacy Association has stepped up to fill in the gaps in regard to people’s computer literacy.

The nonprofit is set to start a new computer orientation class for beginners next week. The free program will meet once a week during a 12-week period. Organization Executive Director Mary Wiegand said 30 people have signed up so far. Although registration is officially closed, she said officials are still allowing people to sign up until the first class on Jan. 7, space allowing.

The class will teach people to turn on a computer and how to use a mouse and keyboard. Students will also learn the basics of Microsoft Word and how to write a resume using the technology, Wiegand said.

Lynne Shonka was hired to run the class as a computer literacy instructor. She said all participants will be given a two-gigabyte USB flash drive to save their work and take it home. Shonka said she plans to cover how to use email and walk students through making a Yahoo email account.

People may be unfamiliar with computers for a variety of reasons. Wiegand said many weren’t exposed to computers growing up and may struggle with using them. Many of these people are senior citizens or grew up in rural areas with no computer access. Some people are immigrants who may not be familiar with the types of computers and software programs available in the U.S., she added.

“Like I said, we take a lot of things for granted,” Wiegand said, about computer literacy. “The need is there. And that’s what we’re here for.”

The class was made possible due to a $17,000 grant provided by First National Bank. The computer lab is located inside the organization’s office at 3020 18th St. in Columbus. Shonka said she hopes the skills taught through the course will spread throughout the community.

“It would be great if we could teach so many people to do it, and then they would teach so many people to do it,” Shonka said. “And then everybody can get up to speed and get to that technological level that the younger generation has grown up with. That’s all that we’re trying to do.”

For more information on the class, those interested are encouraged to contact Wiegand at 402-562-1432 or by email at mwiegand.pvla@gmail.com.

“Everybody in the community is going to benefit from this (class),” Shonka said.

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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