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05.12.2012 Moscow
“Teach Your Family” Campaign: The Results Are In!
Teach Your Family, a contest for volunteers and young Tvoy Kurs trainers, was aimed at empowering young computer users to provide digital literacy training for those who have little access to ICT training, specially targeting senior citizens. Tvoy Kurs coordinators sent in fifteen submissions, telling wonderful stories about their young volunteers who are actively involved in providing digital literacy training for their family members.

The contest submissions demonstrated that, after taking the Digital Literacy course with Tvoy Kurs, many young users from different communities in Russia begin teaching their family members how to use the computer, and some of these young Tvoy Kurs alumni even work as volunteer trainers at their local Tvoy Kurs Centers.

The winners of the contest are:

Ilya Malyshkin (Tambov) as The Best Young Trainer
Nika Nikiforova (Balakovo) for Personal Contribution
Angelina Bagriy (Novokuznetsk) for Creative Approach to Training
Timur Ibadov and Maksim Klevtzov (Kaliningrad) as The Best Team
Anastasia Sokolova (Kaliningrad) for Effective Training.

Our congratulations to the winners on their outstanding achievement and their important contributions to addressing the digital gap. We are proud of your success, your creativity and care for those around you, and your active involvement in the public sphere. We hope that in the future you will continue spreading digital literacy and participating in other social campaigns and projects.

The contest winners will be awarded with valuable prizes and award certificates, and all the other participants will receive letters of appreciation and gifts from Tvoy Kurs.

We are very grateful to Tvoy Kurs coordinators for getting young people excited about volunteering and for investing so much effort into recruiting and training volunteers, who can, in their turn, help their family members overcome their fear of computers and make their first steps in the digital world.

We extend our congratulations to the contest winners and would like to introduce each of the young volunteers personally:

Ilya Malyshkin (Tambov), winner in The Best Trainer category

We first heard about volunteer Ilya Malyshkin last summer from the success story entitled Biker, Traceur and Tvoy Kurs Volunteer. Ilya’s first trainee was his grandmother. Formerly the first violinist in a famous orchestra, she had to leave her job due to a serious illness and soon became housebound. Ilya saw how difficult this forced retirement was for his grandmother and decided to teach her basic computer and Internet skills, hoping to bring some outside interest into her life. She enthusiastically agreed and proved to be an excellent student, while Ilya, to his own surprise, discovered how much he enjoyed teaching her, how great it was to see her listen and do the assignments, gradually become better and overcome her depression. That’s when Ilya started thinking about becoming a Tvoy Kurs volunteer and helping other senior citizens become happier and more involved in modern life. He finally made up his mind when he saw how difficult it was for many adults to get the hang of the computer and how often they had to ask their young children or grandchildren for help.

Senior citizens became Ilya’s main focus, although his parents and their friends would also often consult him and ask questions about using the computer and working online. As of today, he has helped forty-three people make their first steps in the world of digital technologies, even taking his training skills out of his home and the Tvoy Kurs Center classroom into the streets.

Recently some of the bus stops in Tambov have been renovated to include payment terminals and Sberbank ATMs, complete with free wi-fi. During the day, when the traffic wasn’t too heavy and people waiting at these bus stops were relatively few, Ilya would show up, gather small groups of people, and explain how to use the self-service terminals, ATMs and wi-fi, handing out information booklets he had developed himself. Now Ilya also provides senior citizens with financial consultations, giving informed advice on investing pension savings, choosing a good insurance policy, etc.

Here is what V. N. Zhirnyakov, one of Ilya’s trainees, says about him: “Earlier in the year I had the good fortune to take a Tvoy Kurs digital literacy course with Ilya Malyshkin. I would have never guessed he was still in high school – he was so knowledgeable, tactful and amiable. He helped us cope with huge volumes of information, introduced us to the wonderful world of computers, and taught us to use the Internet. I would compare his work with mass literacy campaigns of the 1920s.”

Nika Nikiforova (Balakovo), winner in the Personal Contribution category

After successfully completing the Tvoy Kurs course in digital literacy, twelve-year-old Nika grew passionate about helping others to acquire good computer skills. Seeing her desire to try her hand at training others, the Balakovo Tvoy Kurs Center team gave her the necessary instructional materials and information about volunteering with Tvoy Kurs, and within several months she became the trainer’s right hand.

Herself a rural resident, Nika would commute from her village to the Tvoy Kurs Center after classes and during her school vacations in order to help Tvoy Kurs trainees acquire basic computer skills. Her main focus was one of the most challenging people groups: senior citizens and people with disabilities.

“ICTs help us bridge all sorts of social divides, which is especially important for people with disabilities,” says Nika. “It always amazed me to see how attentive they were during our sessions, how diligently and patiently they did their assignments. Every day I go to school as a student, but this role of a trainer, a teacher, has helped me understand what a challenging profession it is. I hope, however, that I did manage to teach my trainees some computer skills and inspired them to continue growing in this area. Some of my trainees have actually friended me in my social networks.”

In the evening Nika also taught computer skills to her immediate family and her classmate, who didn’t have a computer at home but didn’t want to fall behind other students in their class. Nika proved to be a patient and attentive trainer, and her trainees talk about her with great warmth and gratitude.

Angelina Bagriy (Novokuznetsk), winner in the Creative Approach to Training category

Hearing about the Tvoy Kurs Center where her grandmother was taking a digital literacy course, fourteen-year-old Angelina immediately became interested and not only decided to become a volunteer herself but also brought her friend Diana to join the Tvoy Kurs volunteer team. As the two youngest volunteers in their Tvoy Kurs Center, Angelina and Diana help out at various training sessions, focusing on senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Angelina utilizes her training skills at home as well, taking her grandparents, cousins and classmates through the Digital Literacy Curriculum and helping her friends and classmates with their computer science assignments. She has also launched a computer club which meets in her home. Knowing that many of her friends spend a lot of time playing computer games, she managed to channel their interest in ICTs into more productive activities. Now her computer club is well-known in her school, and her teachers know whom to ask for help when they need assistance in typing and editing texts, downloading music or designing posters.

As of today, Angelina has trained more than fifty people and is looking forward to new trainees and new challenges.

Timur Ibadov and Maksim Klevtsov (Kaliningrad), winners in The Best Volunteer Team nomination

Timur (13) and Maksim (17), volunteers with Kaliningrad’s Information Technologies Center, which is part of the Tvoy Kurs network, teach digital literacy skills to family members of the Center’s young trainees, working in the program called “Network School for Parents: Learning Together.” With the help of their teacher, Timur and Maksim developed and circulated questionnaires, asking family members of the Center’s trainees about their digital needs, and then formed several training groups for people with different starting levels. The training program for parents was held from June through August and recommenced in September, with the beginning of the new school year, graduating the total of 104 people.

The young volunteers not only led Tvoy Kurs training sessions but also developed a number of helpful practical materials for trainees, including their own Glossary of Computer Terms, “Features of Windows XP,” “Office 2007,” “Developing PowerPoint Presentations,” “Basics of Working Online,” etc. Timur and Maksim took special pains to include clear and detailed explanations and many practical training assignments into the seminars which are the most in demand: Using E-Government Services, Building a Résumé, and Using the Internet. They also organized special consultations they called “Computer Skills for Life,” teaching their trainees how to choose, purchase and set up personal computers, buy and install software, etc.

“Your training ushered us into a new world, opened the door into the entirely different dimension of the Internet, and helped us leave behind the monotonous rut many of us were stuck in. Tvoy Kurs taught us that there are millions of people, who are ready to share their own experience, to give advice, and to provide support and empathy – even if only with a smiley. It is also wonderful that Tvoy Kurs not only serves the needs of senior citizens but also provides an excellent platform for young active volunteers who actually developed the whole program for us. They didn’t simply have a good idea of helping others but had the courage and determination to see it through, with the help of their teacher and the Tvoy Kurs Center team. And it is often the most difficult part: putting your idea into action,” said one of Tvoy Kurs trainees Vasiliy Knyazev.

Anastasia Sokolova (Kaliningrad), winner in The Effective Training category

Anastasia (14) leads the group of volunteers that provides digital literacy training for people with disabilities and their family members at the Information Technologies Center in Kaliningrad. She is also an active participant of the Social Equality School Project, where she supervises Tvoy Kurs-based digital literacy programs for kids from the local rehabilitation center for children with disabilities, clients of the Childhood Center for teenagers with disabilities, students from the rehabilitation center for people with hearing impairments, as well as parents and guardians of children with disabilities.

With the guidance of experienced trainers, Anastasia did a lot of research on people with disabilities and took part in developing a training program specially customized for their needs – for instance, utilizing an interactive whiteboard and more visual aids for users with hearing impairments to make their learning more effective.

Tvoy Kurs digital literacy programs have played a very important role in ICT training and vocational choices for many teenagers with disabilities. Nine alumni of the Social Equality School were able to enter computer science programs in different colleges and universities. Other alumni who are still in high school successfully apply their e-skills in producing the school’s e-newspaper and developing presentations about their creative achievements.

Tatiana Bogatkina, whose son Nikita is a student of a special education school for children with visual impairments, says: “I think that it is especially significant that our kids are trained by their peers who volunteer at the Tvoy Kurs Center, – by students like Anastasia Sokolova. Interaction with peers helps our children with their social adaptation and, at the same time, provides these young trainers with an excellent chance to learn tolerance and compassion.”
Logo PH International The project is implemented by PH International (Project Harmony, Inc) and Microsoft Corporation under Microsoft’s initiative Your Course (Tvoy Kurs) Logo Microsoft