Connecting to the world through computers

I remember the first time I cast eyes on a fully functioning computer: I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly impressed.

I remember the first time I cast eyes on a fully functioning computer: it suddenly arrived in my office some thirty years ago, a long-awaited gift made possible at the time by the Vancouver Foundation and its myriad of supporters. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly impressed. The question of what to do with this rather strange looking object, how it worked and how it would actually help to make the onerous task of raising operating funds benefitting registered non-profit social agencies like my own, quickly surfaced.

It wasn’t until many years later that I finally came  to recognize and accept the fact that the modern computer which was first brought into limited service during the early 1940’s had now evolved into one of the most influential pieces of electronic equipment ever invented, touching the lives of almost everyone living in a free society like our own.

However, it wasn’t all that long ago that I became interested in discovering what a pc (personal computer) could actually do for its owner, beyond that of simply substituting for an all but redundant electric typewriter keyboard.

A descriptive pamphlet, snatched from the shelves of our local library, quickly captured my attention and in a momentary flash I found myself thoroughly absorbed by the thought that the new-found community resource referred to as the Nakusp CAP (Computer Access) Centre, might hold the magic key toward solving the mystery. It served to enable me to start off on my personal journey, aimed toward  gaining expanded knowledge and, along with that, a wealth of new experiences.

As it turned out, this voyage of discovery became a delightful on-going adventure,  designed to support me in my quest to emerge at last from the shadowy corners of the “quill pen era” into the dazzling bright light of today’s digital world of computer technology. And it was cost-free at that!

To cut to the chase, I enrolled in several three-hour computer workshops with such captivating themes as Basic Computer Introduction as well as Getting to Know and Care for your Computer; Shopping Safely Online; Working with Photos; Using Email, Facebook and to be offered in April: Skype. This set of seven separate workshops designed for seniors was made possible through a New Horizons grant submitted by CBAL (Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy).

Most of us are familiar with the term “Internet,” but may not be aware that this term constitutes a vast network of computers, all of which have the capability of communicating with each other. Another term frequently heard, is the “World Wide Web” or “Web” for short. A part of the internet, and through a software program known as a “browser,” this wondrous resource allows us to actually view information which in turn opens a window on an enormous wealth of information on practically any subject.

Thanks to the registered non-profit organization CBAL, over 80 Nakusp area seniors have participated in the 14 carefully structured training programs offered to date. This invaluable organization supports the development of healthy learning communities not only within Nakusp but throughout the Columbia Basin. The goal is to give each member of our communities the basic skills necessary to achieve lifelong ongoing learning opportunities. For more information, contact the community literacy coordinator Liz Gillis 1gillis@cbal.org or drop in to the Computer Access Centre in Nakusp during opening hours and ask for help in accessing www.cbal.org on one of the available computers which are intended for public use.