awarenet has officially opened up its computer lab for learners and the community at large. Each weekday from 3 to 4 pm, after the regular awarenet sessions, the Lab is open for any learner from the community who is interested in using it. This hour we call the “learner support hour, as in this time we focus on learners who need to use the computers and internet resources for homework or studying. The next hour between 4 pm and 5 pm the awarenet lab is open for anyone in the community, whether young or old. This is the time when local residents from Joza, the township where our lab is located, may come in and use the computers for whatever purpose they wish. This might be anything from reading the news, writing a CV, upgrading their computer skills, or even writing a blog.
The lab is also open on Saturdays, the learner support takes place from 9 am to 1 pm and the community is welcome from 1 pm to 5 pm. As the local libraries unfortunately don’t open on Saturdays, for many students the only opportunity to access the internet and educational resources on weekends is the awarenet Open lab.
Hence, the rush:
The awarenet Open Lab is an initiative of awarenet and the Pedagogy of Place Project of Rhodes University’s School of Journalism and Media Studies. The idea is to promote digital citizenship in the local community, striving to create a space where citizens from a disadvantaged area can get an opportunity to access modern information technology on an equal footing with other citizens; thereby bridging the digital divide in South Africa.
If someone wants to use our computer lab, they just have to come and fill out a registration form. We are in the process of designing membership cards, and those who agree are also going to be members of our facebook and whatsapp groups. That’s our way to stay connected with the community.
So far, more than 50 members already registered, most of them learners from local schools.