In a world driven by information technology, computer literacy is critical. A technology gap – or digital divide – between the rich and the poor prevents many individuals in low-income communities from having access to computers. This means that those living in poverty cannot access online education opportunities or critical information searchable on the Internet, and are unable to obtain jobs that require even the most basic computer skills.
Providing communities with access to computers and information technology is the first step to breaking the digital divide. The second step is providing instruction that enables community members to learn how to use new technology effectively to seek information or produce their own content. DREAM’s Computer Literacy Program employs both of these strategies to ensure that our students and communities are not left behind by the information revolution.
In 2004, The DREAM Project opened the first computer lab in the region with 24-hour Internet and electricity at Puerto Cabarete Public School. DREAM subsequently opened two more labs: the first in the CADIN School and the second in the newly built DREAM Center. The state-of-the-art computer lab in the DREAM Center is used to introduce children and youth of all ages to information technology. In addition, participants in the A Ganar Youth Workforce Development Program participate in intensive computer literacy courses that build basic computer skills for employment while teaching youth how to manage a professional email account and create a digital resume for job applications. The lab is also open to community members throughout the week, providing necessary access for homework assignments, job searches, and general communication.
Provide poor and under-resourced schools and education centers with access to information technology that allows students and community members to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the 21st century.
- Provide students and community members with increased access to computers and information technology.
- Facilitate access to digital information while enabling effective analysis of the credibility and reliability of online sources.
- Teach skills necessary to create new content for school, work, or personal use through the Internet, Microsoft Office, and other computer applications.