Posts

Online Workshop Update

Pre-pandemic, it would not be unheard of to spot one of Kramden Institute’s instructors loading up the minivan with laptops and an overhead projector screen for an offsite Basic Computer Class. At the same time, another may be seen prepping for summer camp, while another headed out to teach an afterschool technology workshop.

Like many of Kramden’s programs, class operations shifted in March to find ways to provide services safely. On March 26, Kramden launched its Online Workshops program and has since provided classes to over 760 total students. Children and adults ages 9 to 87 have participated in a wide range of STEM workshops covering topics ranging from Image Editing to a Build a PC Live Demo. To date, 75 workshop sessions have been held.

Technology Education Manager, Marshall Burkes has been thrilled with the great response to the online courses.

“Teaching online has been extremely rewarding as an instructor because we’re able to give people an outlet for their energy and curiosity. Both kids and adults are eager to learn and connect with people.” – Marshall Burkes, Technology Education Manager

As Lead Instructor Lile Stephens shared, “One of the most rewarding aspects of teaching online is seeing how excited students get when something clicks, as well as their eagerness to ‘share’ what they have been working on.”

Students of all ages have responded with positive feedback, noting similar enthusiasm to learn something new. “It was both educational and fun.” said Malachi, an elementary schooler.  Cole, a college student, wrote, “Great overview. it definitely gave me the confidence to open up [the app] and get started.” “Extremely informative. This instructor is outstanding. Wish I had more teachers like him when I was in school. Excellent teaching style!” said Patricia.

Kramden’s online workshops were made possible by COVID-relief grant funding from Strowd Roses Foundation, Best Buy, and Protolabs. The Education Team is continuously working to develop new online class and workshop offerings. Visit kramden.org/classes to check out the latest.

Coastal Credit Union Foundation Funds Devices for Area Students

As schools across the state shifted to online learning last month, many local community college students found themselves dealing with an unforeseen challenge: either find a way to obtain a computer to participate in their courses remotely or fail to complete their classes. Thanks to funding from Coastal Credit Union Foundation, Kramden was able to distribute 150 laptops to Wake Tech and 100 laptops Durham Tech Community College students earlier this month. Kramden’s production team is now working on prepping an additional 75 laptops to help benefit a total of 175 Durham Tech students.

Coastal Credit Union has been a long-time partner of Kramden Institute, providing employee volunteer service hours and program funding since 2014. To date, 350 families have participated in Kramden’s Coastal-sponsored digital and financial literacy courses.

Coastal volunteers disassemble computers in Kramden’s warehouse in 2019.

This week the foundation announced that it would provide a second round of funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of $140,000 in unrestricted grants for several area nonprofits. The latest package includes a $50,000 grant to Kramden to help further provide computers to public school and community college students across the Triangle. The grant will allow Kramden to distribute devices to an additional 500 local families in need.

Coastal funding will support Kramden in awarding over 750 computers to area students.

Thank you to Coastal for continuing to support Kramden in our mission to bridge the digital divide!

Community Members Help Distribute Computers to Families in Need

DeAngela and her mom were already enrolled in Kramden Institute’s computer classes when she received a message from a local Early Head Start employee. After learning news that Kramden was giving away free computers to students, she jumped into action.

“If you’ve ever met me in person, you know that I’m a giver at heart,” said DeAngela. (PTA Treasurer, Substitute Teacher, Member of the Elite Dollz of Faith: Divine Connections…we’d say she’s right!)

DeAngela picks up computers at Kramden to drop off with local families.

“I see what happens to families who lack resources. A lot of local families are lacking in resources that children need to be successful and have a well-balanced academic experience. Not to mention, access to family and friends through technology can make a big difference at this time.”

-DeAngela T.

Over the past several days, DeAngela and her mom shared the opportunitely widely across their networks. Together, they were able to identify nine families in need. In order to help the families who were without transportation, DeAngela came by and loaded up the equipment into her personal vehicle. DeAngela says that she her mother have been busy this week distributing the computers across the Triangle. They even received the help of stylists at her local salon who chipped in to provide gas money. It truly takes a village, and we are so grateful for all those who have come together to support our community during this time of need.

Computer Class Participants Receive Laptops at Oldham Towers

Class Participant Linda holds up her new laptop.

Before now, Phillip had to use his cellphone to send emails and access social services information online. Linda’s employer recently invited her to work from home, but she needed a computer to be able to do so. Today, Phillip, Linda, and nine other Durham Residents took home a laptop computer thanks to funding from Charter Communication’s Spectrum Digital Education grant.

Eleven students completed their fourth and final computer class at Oldham Towers this morning. They left with new computer knowledge and a tool to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. “Even though I knew the basics, this class still taught me a lot of things I hadn’t known before. I would definitely recommend it to anyone I know.” Linda said.

After completing eight hours of basic computer training, each student received a free laptop computer with one year of technical support. This class was the first of six Charter-sponsored courses to be offered in the Triangle this year.


Durham Residents Complete Computer Training and Receive Desktops

Recent Kramden Digital Literacy graduate and Durham Housing Authority resident Theresa was looking for a way to “jump-start a new chapter in her life” when she signed up for computer classes at McDougald Terrace’s TA Grady Center this April. She said she hoped to brush up on her skills and get a computer to use for school.

Kramden’s basic computer classes explore a variety of topics from simply learning the fundamentals of using a mouse and keyboard, to creating and editing documents, and navigating social media sites.  Upon completion, class participants receive a computer system for home use. To date, nearly 2,000 individuals have participated in Kramden’s Digital Literacy program since 2014.

Class participants follow along as instructor Bill Koeb discusses Office programs.

For Theresa, finishing the class meant not only acquiring a computer to practice her recently acquired skills, but also a boost in self-confidence.

“I’m so thankful to be completing this class. It helped me to believe in myself again. I’m going to register for classes at Durham Tech this summer, and because of this class, I now have the equipment and the self-confidence I need.”

Theresa W, Digital Literacy Class Participant

Last week, at the conclusion of the fourth course, Theresa and 17 other Durham Housing residents received their desktop computers to take home. The computers, along with eight hours of free computer training, were provided by Kramden Institute and made possible with grant funding received from Google Fiber.