Clarence Valley Seniors Computer Club is a non-profit organisation with over 140 members. They provide digital skills support through a 14 week program that blends structured class materials with Be Connected resources.
Having operated for over 14 years, they know that seniors are after a range of support in a comfortable learning environment. These supports include beginner classes, researching family history sessions, teaching the basics of Facebook, and showing seniors how to use graphic design programs like Microsoft Publisher.
Bob MacPherson, Programme Officer at the computer club, has a strong understanding of the unique needs of his learners. “Older Australians were not born into this digital world and can find it daunting to grasp and understand how to incorporate digital into their lives.”
In their classes they talk about the benefits of a range of devices including computers, tablets and smartphones, and have started to incorporate lessons on Smart TVs.
“Our seniors are comfortable exploring digital technology in our club because we offer a low-key way of teaching that is delivered positively. It is also an excellent way for seniors to meet and greet other seniors,” says Bob.
Using Be Connected grants, the club was able to purchase a new printer so that the work of learners participating in their creative sessions and lesson plans could be easily printed and taken home to show their friends and family.
For some learners, the computer club has had a huge impact on their lives. One learner is now able to stay in touch with her family overseas by sharing photos with her grandchildren. Other learners with limited mobility and find it difficult to get to the shops have been able to start shopping for groceries and doing their banking online.
These are just some of the reasons why Bob enjoys being a digital mentor. “While ageing comes with disadvantages, the internet keeps seniors socially active and connected to their community”.