Living in a digital world

With some help, seniors are starting to learn how to use the internet.

We now live in the digital age.

We’re able to use the Internet in a myriad of ways, from shopping online, streaming movies and music, to chatting with peopleall over the world.

Many of us have been using computers and technology for years. Some though, like seniors for example, are just starting tolearn.

This is where the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy (CBAL) comes in.

The alliance offers a program once a week to help teach seniors how to use a laptop or an iPad.

“I think that it’s important now to be able to communicate with people through email, and it’s kind of fun for them on Facebook,because they’re connecting with people,” said Mary Ellen Harris, a volunteer with CBAL. “Normally [they] would write letters, andwait for the mail. It’s really something new.”

The program has been going on for a few years, and over the course of those years, there has been a noticeable change in whatdevices seniors prefer to use.

“When I first started, it was using computers, and we were teaching seniors how to use a mouse, and now there seems to be ashift,” said Lisa Bjarnason, the community literacy coordinator at CBAL. “It slowed down with the computers, and seniors aregetting tablets now because they’re easier to use.”

Bjarnason said if seniors have a fear of coming to the course, they try to take that fear away. She’s noticed the seniors who cometo the program seem to catch on quickly.

One of the seniors taking advantage of the program is Richard James. He and his wife shared a desktop computer until it crasheda few months ago. They both bought an iPad shortly after.

This was James’ second time attending.

“I seem to be a person who learns better from one-on-one instruction, so I’m finding this really, really helpful,” he said.

“I feel that before coming to this class, I was only using .0001?? per cent of its capabilities, and that’s frustrating to me. Theclass is opening up new avenues for me to utilize the iPad.”

The program takes place every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the CAP building.


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