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Improving the lives of seniors, carers and youth - Kotahitanga - December 2020

18 November 2020.

New programme helps seniors take to the world wide web

A group of Gisborne seniors are among the first to graduate from a new digital literacy programme funded by the Office for Seniors.

The Office for Seniors has partnered with Digital Inclusion Alliance Aotearoa (DIAA) and the 2020 Communications Trust to deliver the programme.

The training aims to help seniors from a diverse range of backgrounds, increase their trust in using the Internet, keep in contact with friends and family and adjust to rapidly changing technology.

Office for Seniors Director, Diane Turner, said the training would be life-changing for older people who are currently missing out on the benefits of the digital world.

“Our modern society is dependent on technology, but for some older people technology is inaccessible,” she said.

“For them to be able to take advantage of technology, older people need to know how to use different devices, navigate the Internet and go online with confidence.”

DIAA partnered with Tairawhiti Technology Trust to deliver the digital literacy classes in Tairawhiti.

While COVID-19 delayed the start of the training, 39 Gisborne seniors have already completed a Better Digital Futures for Seniors digital literacy pathway.

Tairawhiti Technology Trust Operations Manager Polly Crawford said it was all go at the Kaiti training hub

“The programme has been developed to cater for seniors at different stages of their digital journeys, but most people are starting with the introductory programme. It has really highlighted for us how wide the digital divide is for seniors,” she said.

“But what is particularly exciting is that many are coming back to continue working through other digital pathways.”

One student, Maata Morrell, is currently on her second pathway.

“I was always resistant to learning IT but since COVID-19 hit it has made my life a lot easier and these nanny hands can’t hold a pen for long so one-finger typing on the computer keyboard can produce literary works plus check my spelling.”

DIAA Operations Director Laurence Zwimpfer said they had over 1000 places booked for classes in the first three months.

“This is only possible because of the support from The Office for Seniors and our fantastic network of partners in libraries and local community organisations like TaiTech, who have been quick to respond to this exciting opportunity, despite the COVID-19 disruptions they have faced for most of this year,” he said.

Tairawhiti seniors

TaiTech’s digital literacy tutor Tena Baker-Clark with students, Polly (Hurihuri) Pokai and Natalie Lewis.

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