Breaking Digital Barriers

A Breaking Digital Barriers session at Portage Lake District Library.

 The ability to navigate the ever-changing world of digital technology is a new form of literacy, one that presents a considerable challenge to older adults. Digital literacy has quickly evolved from an option to a necessity, and the rapid pace of technological change makes it insufficient to simply teach older adults to use a single technology. Rather, they must develop flexible skills and technological self-efficacy to maintain their hard-earned digital literacy. For four years, our research group has led digital literacy programs to address older adults’ questions about digital tools and applications.

A key component in efforts is a an outreach project: Building Adult Skills In Computing (BASIC). Through the BASIC project, Michigan Tech faculty and students hold walk-in tutoring sessions at the local public library. These help sessions teach community members how to use the internet to keep in touch with people, share pictures and letters, find information, and much more. Participants are welcome to bring their own electronic devices or they may use the library’s computers.

A student receives one-on-one instruction at a Breaking Digital Barriers class.
A student receives one-on-one instruction at a Breaking Digital Barriers class.

Who We Are

Breaking Digital Barriers is lead by MTU professors Charles Wallace, Kelly Steelman and Leo Ureel with the generous support of the Portage Lake District Library and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. If you are interested in helping out, please check out our support page or email Charles Wallace at