For many North Olmsted residents, logging into their personal computer is a simple task that allows them to connect with friends and family online. With the Senior Center’s recently-completed Discover Digital Literacy Pilot Program, twelve senior citizens learned important computer basics to embrace the digital world!
A recent Pew Research study showed that persons age 65 and above used the internet at a noticeably lower rate (58%) than those aged 18 to 64 (96%). To address this disparity, North Olmsted Senior Center staff worked with Center for Aging in the Digital World founders Tak and Mely Sato and organize this eight-week program equipping students with basic computer knowledge and promoting education, communication and personal growth in the digital world. Through the creation of a nonprofit and pooling resources together with the Senior Center, Tak and Mely were able to provide Power of OneSM tablets and offer individualized instruction to students on how to use the intuitive devices to access basic internet functions. “Equipping our seniors with digital training is an important way for us to help them keep up with the changing world,” said Jackie Anderson, Senior Center Administrator. “I was thrilled to partner with Tak and Mely on this program, and am very proud of our graduating class.”
As part of the program, students met once a week at the Senior Center to receive instruction from Tak and Mely. Topics ranged from setting up their own email account to visiting the local Panera Bread to learn how to log onto public wireless internet. Said Jackie, “The Panera visit was a hit with the students, as they were able to apply what they learned in the classroom to a real-life scenario.” Additionally, a sense of shared camaraderie provided a unique learning opportunity for students; no single student was entering the class well ahead of the others in knowledge or experience. Along with the detailed classroom instruction, students regularly shared tips and pointers to help their fellow classmates navigate the various topics.
Eight weeks after their first tablet experience on October 5th, the close-knit group of Discover Digital Literacy students pictured above is now ready to enter the digital world and connect with family, friends, and online resources! The December 5th ceremony was a joyous occasion, where friends and family were invited to celebrate the shared accomplishment of the class. There are already tentative plans for a Spring 2017 program training a new class of students, calling on the recent graduating class to serve as mentors.
Donations to support this program can be made at www.aginginthedigitalworld.org.