The Plough Towers Computer Learning Center is combining digital literacy training with free access to computers and the Internet to help spread broadband adoption among senior citizen residents. Residents can attend a wide variety of computer courses including computer basics, Internet fundamentals, Microsoft Office® software training, and Internet search techniques. The center contains state-of-the-art laptops, desktops, printers, and scanners, allowing residents to read publications online, print photos, and continually expand their computer skills.
Additionally, the center provides international software and keyboards, allowing its multi-cultural mix of residents to learn computer basics and communicate with loved ones abroad. With email accounts and Russian keyboards, Russian-speaking residents can communicate in their native language with relatives and friends in the former Soviet Union. Chinese residents are able to type in Chinese with a language setting and read online newspapers and publications from their hometowns and in their native languages.
More importantly, the center provides training classes on Skype, allowing residents to video call their families abroad for free. One example of how the center is changing lives is of a Russian couple. After attending a Internet fundamentals class, the resident couple used Skype to reconnect with a pair of friends in their wedding 48 years ago.
These programs are made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.