Bendigo workshops to challenge belief technology is only for young people

A technology educator says older people are keen to use iPads and other tablet devices even as some struggle to understand how the technology works.

The Goldfields Library Corporation’s Barbara Billings said much of her work focused on empowering older people to use technology.

“There are not many places people can go to get advice, apart from one-off help,” she said.

Mrs Billings helps run Telstra’s Tech Savvy Seniors program, which runs how-to sessions for older central Victorians.

The five-week program is scheduled to start tomorrow at the Bendigo Library.

Mrs Billings hoped the sessions would help those who were not confident with newer technology.

“In my opinion the biggest barrier is people telling themselves they can’t do it and that it’s only for younger people,” she said.

Mrs Billings said the oldest person she had helped was 92 years old.

In the years the program has run in central Victoria Mrs Billings has noticed participants were increasingly interested in tablet devices.

She noted a few of the common problems Tech Savvy could could help rectify.

“People often set up iPads for seniors, but they don’t tell them the password,” she said.

This small problem could be a major barrier for someone who was not confident with the technology.

Many older people were also unclear about what an app was and when they could download or use one.

“There are a lot of apps out there if you know how to look for them,” she said.

Mrs Billings said many people attending Tech Savvy workshops wanted practical tips.

“Often it is the little stuff. There are people who want to know how to get onto Facebook because their community has a group that is talking on social media,” she said.

“They might not want to be on Facebook but that group might be where conversations are taking place. So they want to know what’s happening.”

While Telstra had provided lesson modules, Mrs Billings tailored sessions to help people learn exactly what they asked to know.

She asked people to bring their own devices to the sessions.

Morning sessions would focus on tablet devices and begin at 10.30am. Afternoon sessions would focus on laptops and begin at 2pm.

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