‘Always an opportunity…’

It’s not an uncommon thing for the human psyche to fear what it doesn’t understand. In the case of new technology and how to operate a computer, attitudes can be downright hostile. That’s where Marilyn Eklund comes in. After completing a computing software certificate at Community Colleges of Spokane in 2006, she began employment with Community Colleges of Spokane, working in student services and administering GED exams. In 2010, she started teaching the continuing education Microsoft Suite 2007 computer class. To better serve the community's needs for beginning computer training, Ecklund began offering a non-credit basic introduction to computers and a social media class at the Spokane Colleges Extended Learning Center in Colville. The Statesman-Examiner asked Ecklund what inspires her appreciation for computer technology and capabilities. What is about computers that you enjoy? I enjoy working with computers, because there is always an opportunity for me to learn something new and challenging. Whether I am using a computer for work purposes or staying in touch with family or friends, technology helps me stay organized, in touch, and educated.What is it about computers you dislike? Computers are a great tool for the businessperson or the casual user, as long as they are used for good. Our youth are exposed to corruption (online), so monitoring usage is very important!Why do you think new technology poses such a challenge to people? It is always easier to learn something new when a young person learns it as part of a curriculum. It can be challenging trying to stay current with technology that is constantly changing, so we are faced with keeping up-to-date on new applications and programs. I try to keep in mind that computer learning is a good brain exercise that people need, as they get older.How did you feel when you started to learn the intricacies of computers for the first time? Before I had training, I could only use the basic tools in a computer application. When I began learning the intricacies of computers, I felt empowered to be able to utilize the computer to full capacity. Because I have a better understanding, it is easier and not intimidating when an update to a program or computer application becomes available to the public.What is the attitude of most of your students going out of the class as opposed to going in to it? Students are excited to learn computer skills. Our society is computerized; so being knowledgeable can help with everyday tasks, such as operating a cell phone. Student feedback is always positive, even if people have some computer skills. They usually learn something new that can be used later.As an instructor for non-credit classes, what have you learned about yourself? I have learned that I have computer knowledge to share with the community. There are many facets to computer programs and applications, and if I am not familiar with a computer method, I know that I can research the subject out, because I have the basic knowledge of computer operation. For more information about Eklund’s classes, or to register, call 509-685-2131.