Pathways to Uplift and Empower through Novel Technology and Education Services
The PUENTES program targets Latino families, specifically those that have language and cultural barriers that present an obstacle to understanding technology and how to utilize its benefits. The purpose of this program is to cultivate a learning environment for both parents and children of disadvantaged households through skills, resources, and tools needed for digital literacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the need for this training, as more services have moved to and are continuing in a virtual setting.
Participants will become digitally literate in an authentic, culturally relevant context, as they learn social responsibility and the use of social networks while involving parents’ participation in supervising children’s activities, and becoming familiar with access to their child’s academic progress. Becoming familiar with computers and the equipment related to their use gives participants the skillset and confidence to apply their understanding of technology for an improved quality of life. This will enable participants to continue to develop their proficiency with computer literacy by using the acquired knowledge for a range of functions that include academic, career, and personal growth.
The PUENTES program offers a synchronous learning platform designed to promote the efficient and effective use of digital tools, enhance skills, and improve internet literacy for low-income students and Spanish-speaking parents to help “bridge” the language translation and technology digital divide. Participants will engage with trained facilitators in positive, interactive, bilingual virtual learning environments for a minimum of sixteen hours per cohort.
The cohorts are in the following cities:
- Oxnard, CA
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
- Topeka, Kansas
- San Antonio, Texas
- Vancouver, Washington
Participants will learn computer basics and practical digital skills for work and life and will acquire knowledge and have access to a host of internet resources. The program will provide digital equipment, such as laptops, tablets, software, and internet access to families to improve digital skills through virtual classes. Participants will sharpen technical competencies and grasp lifelong principles that may inspire educational improvement and workforce preparation.
This digital education program is currently being hosted at LNESC Oxnard in California. The 2020-2021 program cycle included 3 cohorts of 10 families per cohort. Each cohort participates in three workshops. In total, there were 60 family participants, all of Mexican descent, largely residing in an agricultural community known as the Oxnard Plain. Throughout the workshop sessions, families were exposed and educated on various google services such as: Drive, Translate, Calendar, Gmail, and Google Meet. All of these services are used regularly by students, staff, and parents of Oxnard Union High School District and all school districts in the area. Many of them start with limited digital literacy, having minimal exposure to using a laptop or an email.
“It was a very nice way for adults to learn how to use their emails.”
- Ms. Cuapio, Program Participant
“My mom says now she knows how to use the apps the school provides and can check up on me easier! She is also excited about the background changes in Zoom and Google Meet.”
- Liliana, Program Participant
"Todo esta muy bien sus explicaciones, nadamas es cuestion en que todos pongamos mas attencion! Muchas gracias por el tiempo que dedican para ensenarnos.”
- Joselyn, Program Participant
“I really enjoyed participating in the program. Very informative and I enjoy spending time with the teachers and other parents. I would love to participate in other PUENTES programs”
- Rose, Program Participant
“Although the timing of classes was difficult for me as a working mom. I felt it was important for me to be here and learn to participate and show my child that learning doesn’t end when you are not in school.”
- Maria, Program Participant
"This is a great way to begin computer learning. I really appreciate this class. The instructors are so helpful in instructing us seniors on the operation of these wonderful machines. Thank you.”
- Bill, Program Participant