Podcast Episode: UCanDoIT, digital literacy training
What follows is a transcription of the audio recording. Due to differences between spoken and written English, the transcript may contain quirks of grammar and syntax.
MM - Michael McEwan
JJ - Joyce Jordan
MM I am joined by Joyce Jordan. Joyce is one of the tutors for UCanDoIT. Now first off Joyce, what is UCanDoIT?
JJ Well UCanDoIT is a charity which provides computer and internet training for people in their own homes, and we teach them on a one to one basis. The charity was founded in 1998 and we have a network of tutors around the UK. So far they have trained over 4,300 people and provided over 50,000 individual lessons. We have tutors available in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Perth and Ayrshire and the charity recently received 2 awards through the Tech4Good Awards organisation, which is set up by AbilityNet.
MM So who can apply for UCanDoIT?
JJ Well people of all ages apply, including those with physical or learning disabilities. It can also be their carers who apply and there is no minimum or maximum age limit.
MM So if people want to get on the course and it’s not in your area in Scotland, how can they go about it?
JJ Well I mean it is still worth their while applying, even if at that moment in time there is no tutor available, because we are always trying to recruit new tutors in other areas, particularly if we know that there is a demand in a specific area. We will always try and find somebody to cover it.
MM So what is needed to get on this course? How can you qualify?
JJ Well you basically need to have access at home to a reasonably up to date computer and a connection to the internet. We carry out a preliminary assessment of every learner’s needs, and we check the suitability of the computer equipment and discuss what they want to learn. Now if we find out that their computer equipment … they may not even have a computer sometimes - we can often provide a refurbished computer and also assisted software and equipment if it is necessary, such as screen readers for blind and visually impaired people.
MM So how does it work?
JJ Well first of all as I say we carry out an initial assessment where we meet the learner at home, and then following that they receive a course of 10 lessons which last approximately an hour and a half to two hours, and each lesson is tailored to suit the individual needs and the interests of the learner. This can include emailing, accessing information online, online shopping, using social media such as Facebook, etc.
MM So is there a cost to go on this course?
JJ Well the course is free to those on a weekly disposable income of less than £100. Apart from that, the cost would start at £12 for the course, which includes the 10 lessons as well as a refresher lesson 6 months after the end of training.
MM What has your feedback been like from the students going on the course?
JJ A recent survey of learners was carried out, of people who had actually completed the training, and the results showed that 83% of learners are now shopping online, 58% are banking online, 66% use Facebook, and 100% of the students are able to email regularly now - and they generally feel more confident in using computers. They also feel less isolated and are now feeling more in touch as part of a wider community as well.
MM So you mentioned Facebook there - have you got a website address?
MM How important do you think it is with people with a learning disability nowadays to use their computer to their advantage?
JJ Well I think it’s equally important for them as it is for anybody else really to be digitally included basically. I mean these things are open to everybody, as they should be.
MM How many students have you got just now? Have you got a lot of students?
JJ Personally I am working with a few students in the Glasgow area at the moment - it really does sometimes depend on our current funding and tutors available, but yes we have a fairly steady stream of students coming through.
MM And are you the only tutor in Scotland or …
JJ No, no we have about … there is myself and 2 other tutors in the Glasgow area - there’s about 3 tutors in Edinburgh, and we also have tutors in Perth and Dundee and Ayrshire.
MM So again, if people listening to this and they think “oh I quite fancy being a tutor” - they can email the website?
JJ Absolutely, yes, they can go first of all onto our website if they want to, and they can actually download an application form and send it off, or else they can contact by email as well - they can contact our administrators.
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