Statewide Mobile Technology Center tour to promote computer literacy

Friday, October 02, 2009

1890 Moblie Technology CenterMany South Carolinians in some rural and urban areas of the state have limited-to-no access to computers and the Internet. The lack of access causes them to lag further behind academically, economically and socially when compared to those living in communities where availability to the technological equipment and resources surpass disadvantaged communities.

To help close the gap between the “haves” and “have nots”, the 1890 Research & Extension Program at SC State University will tour the state, stopping at various locations in selected cities and towns in a transportable computer classroom, dubbed the Mobile Technology Center. The tour, set to kick-off on October 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Regional Medical Center in Orangeburg, will introduce residents to computers and the Internet through interactive educational sessions held on board.

“The tour will help familiarize our adult visitors with the vocational skills that employers expect prospective employees to know and use effectively on the job. In addition, our young visitors will learn skills that will help improve their academic performance,” said Demier Richardson, senior extension director of community education and the coordinator of the tour.

The self-contained classroom on wheels is a custom-designed Winnebago outfitted with state-of-the art audio and visual equipment, a 12-station computer lab, Internet access via satellite, and dry-erase board walls. The vehicle is also handicap accessible.

Visitors who board the Center learn the basics on how to use a computer, develop and use proper keyboarding techniques by learning the home row keys and get a crash course on navigating the Internet.

The mobility of the Center further enhances 1890 Research & Extension’s capacity to educate visitors on health-related, social, educational and financial ills impacting communities in the state and, similarly, across the nation. Through the use of the computers and Internet, visitors can access information on food and nutrition, learn methods that help avert certain chronic diseases, search and apply for jobs and obtain details on initiatives that help spur business and economic development.

Officials cite 1890 programs and services, like the Mobile Technology Center tour, as proactive solutions to the problems their clients encounter. The programs and services also allow the organization to achieve its land-grant mission of using teaching, research and outreach or Extension to improve the lives of South Carolinians.

“We look at the trends affecting our clients and identify how various aspects of their lives are impacted. We, then, strategically develop and deploy programs, courses and other educational opportunities that will ultimately help persons in the affected communities reach their full potential,” said Delbert Foster, 1890 Extension administrator.

Following its stint in Orangeburg, the tour will travel to communities serviced by the seven 1890 Extension offices: Anderson, Charleston Cluster, Greenwood, Hampton Cluster, Marlboro Cluster, Orangeburg Cluster and Williamsburg Cluster.

For more information on the Mobile Technology Center tour, contact Demier Richardson at (803) 533-3664 or dricha6@scsu.edu or Demovia Gooden at (803) 533-3673 or dgooden2@scsu.edu.