Digital threads

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The Cloudworks Team
29 April 2008

Reduce pressure on unconfident learners by teaching a balance of traditional and new skills, with material that is culturally acceptable and relevant.

In this WEA course, British Asian women are trained in the use of computerised sewing machines. Some of the students have language and literacy difficulties, and one challenge is to overcome their fear in using computers. The computer component of the course is carefully balanced – eg 2 hours embroidery to 1 hour computing. Some internet activities, such as searching for patterns, are largely self-directed; use of the sewing machines is more strongly tutor-directed, with peer mentoring. Learners are not pressured to complete a portfolio. For some learners, a Women’s Centre venue and creche facilities are necessary for them to be able to take part. Designs from the internet provide a more culturally relevant supplement to the designs of Disney characters which come packaged with the machines. [John Cook, Ian Harford]

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