Kingston Library, part of Libraries Tasmania, provide extensive programs and support through their offering of digital classes. As the need for technology increases, not only in the workplace and for study, but also in everyday life, they could see the benefits of utilising the Be Connected program with their clients.
Kingston Library offers a range of digital classes free to the community, including courses in social media, basic computing skills, using tablets and phones and accessing online government services. They have a mix of staff, volunteers and high school mentors delivering the program. Sonya Moon, Community Learning Coordinator, says, “The seniors’ eyes light up when the high school kids walk in. The benefit to both parties is obvious with high levels of engagement.”
Kingston Library has received both an Activation Grant and Get Online Week grant, which has allowed them to purchase some Dash Robots which they used in a TasTAFE adult computing class (pictured). They gave a demonstration of the robots and how to use them on the iPad. Sonya remembers, “One student put their hand up to have a go. Within 10 minutes every robot was being utilised. Out of this session, two of the learners booked additional sessions to bring their children and grandchildren during the school holidays. We love the fact that the learning process was reversed when they started showing younger generations how to use this newer technology.”
She adds, “The grants have been fabulous in allowing us to offer a broader range of programs and some of the newer technologies. These have enticed people to have a go at something they haven’t done before, and also given the message that technology can also be fun. As these technologies have great ‘street appeal’ they also attract people to come up and ask about them and find out about the other services we have at the library. The grants are easy to apply for and we have really appreciated the flexibility in what you can use them for. The Activation grant is a great place to start in terms of seeing how the program is received and how the signup program works for learners.”
When they deliver their digital skills classes, Kingston Library recommends encouraging all users to sign up to the Be Connected learning portal so they can individually track their own progress and also log in to things like webinars to help build their skills for future online learning. Sonya remembers, “People initially signed up slowly as they were unsure and reluctant due to previous experience. Being able to offer reassurance that this program is a federal government program and a government esafety.gov.au site certainly helped them feel comfortable. We have found the team at Good Things to be very helpful and responsive when we have needed assistance.”
Sonya and her team try to make their programs fun and interactive, including the chance for seniors to have a play. “The main thing we often say is to not be scared of the technology, have a play, press the buttons, you won’t break anything.”