Woolgoolga Seniors Centre provides activities and events for seniors in the Woolgoolga and surrounding districts. Irene, digital mentor at the Centre, says the Be Connected program was a perfect fit for their community. “The digital skills program is proving to be both an informative and a social class for our learners. The grants have allowed us to run the courses twice a week, as well as purchase laptops, tablets and a printer."
They have an informal group of learners who settle down and steadily work through the Be Connected course topics. “Once the learners are signed up and understand how the course works, I’m in caretaker mode. I move around the room offering one on one support." Irene adds that some learners are now starting to offer knowledge and assistance to their classmates. "When a computer question arises, the discussion includes all learners who are interested in the topic. This is the part I most enjoy, using my computer knowledge to show easier ways of navigating both the internet and the computer.”
Irene has also introduced her class to the free webinars offered by the Office of eSafety (pictured). She recently organised a group session based on the Safer Online Shopping and Banking webinar. “I promoted this session amongst the Seniors’ Centre members and it resulted in 14 viewers on the day. All were impressed by the webinar and are looking forward to more. Due to the webinar, I also have a new learner who will join the course next week.”
When it comes to delivering the Be Connected program, Irene’s advice is to just go for it! “I had self-doubt when I started teaching, but this age group is so pleased to be learning that it just makes my job a pleasure.”
Word of mouth proves the most effective way of marketing their program, but they also advertise throughout the community and this has resulted in class numbers steadily rising. Irene adds that feedback from learners has also been very positive. “We’ve had comments like ‘I’ve learned more in two days than I have in two years!’ This makes it very worthwhile.”