It’s not just English anymore. Refugees and immigrants that come to the United States are no longer just bombarded with a new language. They also have to quickly and successfully learn to navigate technology.
For instance, each morning I come to work. I log into a computer and sign in for the day. I check my email for any new messages. I upload documents to share with my students. I search electronic files and print papers. At home I pay my bills, shop online, and communicate with family and friends all over the United States and beyond.
So it goes without saying that to live in America people need to be very fluent in technology. Students look forward to learning technology in our classrooms. They know that technology is necessary for navigating this new country they are now living in.
At the Center for New Americans we help students learn about technology in the classroom. In addition to computer specific classes, the Center for New Americans offers monthly technology days in all English classes and often includes technology in daily lesson plans.
Many of our students are dedicated to learning English and mastering computer technology. They faithfully come to combined English and technology classes. When asked why they are so dedicated and why technology is so important to them, this is what they answered:
One student, a hardworking young man from Sudan, says he came to the United States “because it is a free country.” English is important to him, because it’s “the official language in the U.S. I need to speak and write it,” but he believes technology is equally important because, “I want to learn computer to apply for a job.”
Another student, a young mother from Ethiopia, came to America because, “I want to live in a free country.” She says that in addition to learning English, “Computer skills have become more and more important as companies have started to depend upon computerized technology to get almost every work done.”
I am so very proud of my students for recognizing the importance of technology and embracing it with such determination. Kudos to you and here’s looking towards an amazing future!
Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103