If there has been a lesson to be learned about the coronavirus pandemic, it is how dependent we have become on technology.
Using Zoom for business meetings while working from home means that more and more, it’s tech that’s keeping people connected to co-workers and family. A lot has changed quickly and for many, it’s hard to keep up. To help, the Fort Erie International Academy partnered with Huawei (Canada) to help smooth out the transition. Dubbed Tech 101, the school has created a series of online courses meant to teach people the basics of technology, ranging from simple email to spreadsheets to teleconferencing apps.
“At the beginning of the pandemic we wanted to help the community, knowing how much COVID was impacting Fort Erie,” said Andrew Liu, the project manager for Tech 101.
Searching for a partner for the project, the school settled on Huawei, who are serving as consultants for the project.
“Having a brand name really helps,” Liu said. “People behind the project have a long history in tech.”
Offering the free program is an extension of the school’s own tech curriculum, Liu added.
“The school does put a big emphasis on tech itself,” he said.
Work started on creating the courses — there are 10 in all, covering such topics as Excel, Gmail, PowerPoint and Zoom — back in January and became available in March.
“We have served 1,000 members (since the launch),” Liu said.
The goal of the online courses is to offer flexible learning opportunities for those people who want to hone their digital skills. Each course is divided into a number of modules that users can complete at their own pace. They are designed for beginners to help people become more tech-savvy and create the building blocks for a career in a modern online workforce. No experience is necessary.
“Each module takes a couple of minutes to complete,” Liu said. “Each course is designed to take about an hour to complete.”
While the courses are free, registration is required. People wanting to take part can do so at feia.ca/tech101.
In terms of security for uses, data is not shared with any third party, Liu said.
“All data is kept by FEIA.”
In addition to the learning program itself, there is also a Facebook group called Tech 101 Community where people enrolled in the courses can connect with other users.
“We have several hundred members,” Liu said, adding that the community is a place where users can connect with mentors who can help them navigate the courses.
“People are appreciating that,” Liu said.