Increasing Understanding of Technology and Communication




Name: Social City Net


Master Level High-Tech Webinars

The Evolution of High-Tech Device User Manual & Instruction


Sacramento, CA. (05/02/2016) – The time has come to introduce a platform, armed with an effective methodology that will begin closure of the Digital Divide. The source of this wound that has become a gap in our worldwide population and between generations, is Digital Literacy.

A Presidential Proclamation stated, “Information presented by an immense array of online resources, has challenged our long-held perceptions of information management. Rather than merely possessing data, we must also learn the skills necessary to acquire, collate, and evaluate information for any situation. This new type of literacy also requires competency with communication technologies, including computers and mobile devices that can help in our day-to-day decision making.” (1)

During the entire digital era, attempts at addressing Digital Literacy have only been made by instructional applications (apps) on a device, then there are videos on YouTube or a third-party PDF manual for download, but normally the task of instruction in learning to use new technology (gaining digital literacy) falls to a friend, family member or some organization of volunteers.

Obviously, at the pace digital evolution has maintained their efforts, though admirable, are an exercise in futility. Because with each product introduction from new technology, more and more members of society fall behind in the Literacy to truly benefit from it.

Master Level High-Tech Device Webinars provides instruction & assistance for individuals learning to use high tech devices that connect to the internet. This service is offered by employing a webinar methodology which has proven to be both easily accessible and effective allowing face-to-face communication.  Our service is designed to address digital literacy as it pertains to high-tech devices such as computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles. The purpose of this campaign is to solicit funding for this unique venture and begin a closure of the digital divide between those that have yet to acquire digital literacy and the tech-savvy.

1.       Office of the Press Secretary | | 10/01/2009




Singapore Bridges Digital Divide with IT Boot-Camps


Newcomers to the internet are often excluded in an overwhelmingly digital age. Now, Singapore a has solution for bridging this divide: Intergenerational IT boot-camps.

The boot-camp program was developed as part of the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) Silver Infocomm Initiative, which promotes IT awareness and literacy among the elderly.  But beyond learning, the program was also about encouraging seniors to foster bonds with the young, by being engaged digitally.

The simple idea behind these boot-camps was to tap into the natural skills of Singapore's young digital natives and pair them with those from the baby boom-generation who may not have been exposed to information technology.

So far, there have been 145 boot-camps with over 3,000 senior participants through the joint efforts of IDA, grassroots organizations and schools around the island nation.

The basics were taught to seniors, such as how to use a Windows 7 computer and a mouse, as well as type on a keyboard, but it did not end there.  From online banking to accessing government portals, these senior students were shown how technology could easily enrich their lives.

“Certain things that were cutting-edge have become normal or even essential in a very short space of time," said Dr Janil Puthucheary, Minister of State at the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Ministry of Education, in a CNBC interview.

"Digital inclusion is about ensuring that everyone has access to things like online information, online entertainment and online services," said Puthucheary.

The benefits of going digital are numerous, but from a societal perspective, getting senior citizens online can also help them improve interpersonal communication and relationships with their family, according to IDA.

The North East Eldersurf Intergen Boot-camp was the latest exercise in this initiative and involved ten-year olds partnered with seniors in their 60s and 70s, guiding them through five three-hour IT workshops.

One of the senior participants, Tan Chew Seng, told CNBC that he had been looking for a way to learn how to use the computer.  He was recently retrenched and recognized the need to improve his employability.  Tan shared that another motive for learning IT skills was to refer to government websites and "find out if my retrenchment package was fair and according to the government's regulations."

Some of the favorite lessons for the elderly students included learning how to access on-demand entertainment to stream their favorite television programs or compare grocery prices of supermarkets online, said 10-year-old students and cyberguides Sakinah Banu and Kytiqa Hariana.

The intergenerational boot-camps are not just about the old learning from the young, but vice versa as well.

"The young can learn that there are things that come very easily to them, which may be difficult for their seniors, and that it's not actually very hard to teach the elderly new skills," said Puthucheary.

Read Article (Aza Wee Sile | | 04/05/2016)

Helping the elderly become digitally literate is actually so much more than just assisting them in learning to use a digital device.  Our webinars engage them in face-to-face discussions, broadens their social connections and confidence.  In many instances, this communication may open a whole new world of possibilities for them.

And by the way, the challenges of digital literacy is a worldwide problem.  All the more reason to support our campaign and take efforts to address this issue to the next level.

Master Level High-Tech Webinars

The Silver Divide: Students Teach Tech to Seniors


Most college outreach revolves around working with peers or providing advice as a mentor to K-12 students.  The Community Outreach Group (COG) students was launched as a project of out the Information Technology Leadership course at Florida State University in 2012 to work with K-12 schools and STEM clubs in Leon County.

Over the years, the group has visited classrooms, held summer camps, hosted Saturday coding workshops and been actively engaged with local schools.  In 2014, the group launched as an RSO at FSU.  Three years ago the group started working with senior citizens in the community to provide technology training and assistance at local venues.

Previous work:

  • Summer 2013 – Classes at Woodville Branch Library for seniors
  • Fall 2013 – Supporting Residents at Allegro
  • Spring 2014 – Classes at Woodville Branch Library for seniors
  • Summer 2014 – Classes at Cherry Laurel Residential Community
  • Fall 2014 – Classes at Westminster Oaks Living Community
  • Spring 2015 – Supporting Residents at Allegro
  • Summer 2015 – Supporting Residents at Allegro
  • Fall 2015 – Classes at Tallahassee Senior Center

This Spring, the group is working with the Tallahassee Senior Center and Allegro Senior Living providing bi-weekly visits acting as a resource to residents.  During their one-hour sessions they help small groups and work one-on-one to answer any technology related questions the seniors may have.  COG has helped with everything from showing residents how to download apps to a phone, formatting documents for a computer, and helping set up a social media presence so that the seniors can keep in touch with friends and family.

COG and students from the IT Leadership class will continue to hold these outreach events for the rest of the semester and COG President Madison Allen is always searching for new members to grow and develop the program, “Our club is open to all majors and our diversity will make us more helpful for those in need.

Plus, our members get so much benefit from COG, including networking, leadership roles, service hours, and we get to work with an awesome group of engaged leaders.”

To get involved, students should join the Community Outreach Group Facebook page.

Read Article (Kate Mullen | | 04/13/2016)

Even though they are not great in numbers, student venues like this have spread across the country and become one of the main sources of tech device learning for many of our senior citizens.

Our service has the potential to also reach huge numbers of seniors that continue to ask for assistance learning new technology.  We just need your support to get there.

Master Level High-Tech Webinars

Real Seniors Are Skeptical About Smartphone Tech


Real Seniors are rightfully skeptical about technology such as smartphones.  Surveys are world-renown as the foundation for design/marketing of the technological marvels – but they don’t include real seniors.  Here’s the pitch to investment groups, the board of directors, the distribution partners, the audience.  Yet for the oldest adult markets and product segments that need seniors, the real seniors – those individuals aged 75+ are rarely surveyed.  At least as far as we can tell, because their responses are dumped, clumped and lumped into the 65+ group.

The mission of Link-age breaks the mold and surveys the very old.  And this matters – life expectancy lengthens, and so does the market for offerings that meet the need of older adults.  Since 2011, the organization has fielded surveys of older adults about their use of technology.  First they fielded a paper survey (2011) that revealed interest but little ownership – 70% of the 1789 responders were over the age of 75.  Then in 2013, Next Generation Response Systems received 1114 survey responses, 53% of the responders to another paper survey were over the age of 75.  In both of these surveys, smartphones were not, uh, popular among the oldest group.

It’s 2016 – Link-age fielded another survey, expectations about technology have changed.  This time 401 older adults are surveyed via an e-mailed link, again more than half are aged 75+.  While smartphone ownership has grown, it is still obvious that as age range rises past 75, smartphone ownership drops – and the comments sharpen from individuals aged 80+: “Life is NOT a constant emergency.  With navigation systems, no one has any idea where they are in relation to the world.”  And this: “In spite of all the advances out there, it is virtually ruining our youth’s manners.”  But also: “It’s the future…I have not wanted to be left behind.”

Look at your smartphone – carefully.  Put on your (mental) age suit.  Imagine it is you who has had an easy-to-use clamshell phone that enables you to get a call and a text message from a family member.  Now pick up your smartphone – that device that does triple duty as a camera, calorie counter, map, search engine, newspaper, note taker, calculator, music player and wake-up alarm.  For starters.  Remember that 50% of the 75+ population (Pew) is now online, compared to 7% online fifteen years ago.   Why don’t they want this remarkable device?  “New gadgets seem to be programmed by young people who assume that the user will know what to do in a confusing situation.” Exactly.

Read Article (Laurie Orlov | | 04/15/2016)

While Pew Research reports how senior smartphone ownership has grown, many seniors explain the high tech devices they own were gifts from family members but they remain in their boxes, unused.

And while marketing has failed to include real seniors in their survey’s, they should be paying attention to another statistic: “Senior Citizens control about 33% of the wealth in United States, and miss-representing them in survey’s “does not show them Respect.”

Shame on the entire industry.

Master Level High-Tech Webinars

Cyber Seniors Experience An Unforgettable Journey


From the way Donna places her hands, it’s obvious that she once knew her way around a typewriter.  Today, Donna is typing on a keyboard and learning how to send an email to her granddaughter for the first time.

Donna is a resident at Cedarvale Lodge in Keswick, Ontario, one of Sienna Senior Living’s retirement residences and care communities.  She is also a member of the Cyber-Seniors program in partnership with Keswick High School and the York District School Board’s Leadership Program.

The Leadership Program is a Ministry of Education-approved volunteer initiative for students in Grades 10 and 11.  The goal is to teach students a variety of leadership styles, for example authoritative, participatory, or delegation.  Students must afterward apply those skills to support their younger peers in Grades 9 and 10 with classroom activities, or within the community.

The program is completed in three phases—planning, implementation, and presentation—over the course of a semester.  To qualify, students must demonstrate a proficiency in at least two subjects, be recommended by a careers teacher, and have an acceptable level of maturity and attendance.  Eligible students are free to choose any area of interest for their project and are responsible for the research, planning, and delivery of it.

Doug Hickey is a Grade 10 and 11 math and careers teacher at Keswick High School and has been overseeing the Leadership Program for the past five years.  This is the first time that students have been offered Cyber-Seniors as a choice for their leadership project.  Cyber-Seniors was started by two high school sisters in Toronto who began teaching their grandparents how to get online, and has since grown into an international program.

Doug’s students mentor eleven senior residents who range from 70 to 97 years old, in online communication tools such as email, Google, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube.  He wants his students to understand that they are not merely teaching technology to seniors.  “It’s so much more than technology.  It’s about pulling out these memories, and making personal connections,” says Doug.  “My students are learning and demonstrating patience, providing compassionate instruction, and using leadership models we have explored in class.”

The volunteers meet with residents once a week at Keswick High School for about two hours over an 8-week period, and receive basic training and a manual to guide their lessons.  Some of the residents bring laptops and iPads to the sessions that take place in the library.  Many of the computers were gifts from family members, but had remained in their boxes until recently.  Other residents sit in the computer lab with desktop computers.

When her husband died, Donna’s children bought her a computer.  “But I was in deep grieving, and not sleeping or thinking clearly, so I never really did much with it,” she says.  “When I moved to Cedarvale, I didn’t think I would bother getting the Internet, and then this opportunity came up, and it really got me interested.  It’s opened up a new world for me, and it’s just a joy to be with these young people.”

Kaylin, a Grade 11 student, shows Donna the Mexican resort where her granddaughter had been the week before.  They also look up the horse-breeding farm of a woman for whom Donna used to work—saving a picture from each website onto the hard drive. Donna’s homework is to obtain the Skype addresses of her great-grandchildren.

Bettie is reading an article on Errol Flynn on Vanity Fair’s website.  Her student mentor Holly, shows Bettie how to use the scroll wheel on the mouse, which she grasps easily, along with the double-click that almost every other resident is having trouble with.  “I don’t have a problem reading off the screen,” she says proudly.  “My eyesight is very good.”

At the desktop next to Bettie and Holly, Sam introduces 96-year-old Roy to Google.  He keeps a printout of the program’s schedule in his pocket with some dates marked off. “I’d heard about computers.  But I’ve never come face-to-face with one,” he admits.  He likes watching war films on the retirement home’s big TV screen and was amazed to discover he could watch films on the Internet.  Roy hopes to absorb something he can pass on to another resident.

The 80-year age gap between Bill and his mentor doesn’t bother him at all.  “I just wish I was her age again,” he says.  “School has changed a lot since I was a kid.”  He speaks with a deep Scottish brogue despite having lived in Canada most of his 97 years.  He used to be able to touch-type in the army and now feels more competent on the iPad because less typing is required.

“I can’t get it [the mouse] to do what I want!” laments Nancy to Coleton, her mentor, and starts typing with one finger at a time.  The dexterity in her hands is limited, but she’s determined to learn.  “I’ve just enjoyed this so much,” she says while writing a joke to email a friend. “I’m not sure he [Coleton] will find it funny.  It’s a woman’s joke.”  It seems however that most of the other seniors have heard it before; several times, in fact. “Oh, the ‘three wise men joke’,” one of them shouts over, rolling his eyes.

Coleton and Nancy search for her former home in Birmingham, Alabama using Google Maps.  They find the street and ‘walk’ along it as Nancy becomes increasingly excited at recognizing a street corner, then a building or two, until eventually she is looking at the house that she lived in thirty years ago.  She points her finger at the building on the screen with happy tears in her eyes.

Kay thinks her 16-year-old teacher is amazing.  “When I finished high school, I knew less than half of what they know today,” she says.  Despite her limited exposure to the Internet, she has a remarkable awareness of online security. “I don’t know how to get out of it [the Internet browser]—and anyone can pull up anything I’ve had on there before.”

Sometimes the intergenerational divide can prove difficult with translating computer language the teenagers have used all their lives.  “Terms such as ‘browser,’ need to be simplified,” says mentor James.  The most enjoyable part of his experience has been listening to John’s life stories.  John was a missionary who travelled all over North America and has lived in many remote regions.  “I love seeing his reaction to Google Maps because he hasn’t been to these places in fifty years,” shares James.  “I tell him, ‘Well, that’s what it looks like now!’”

Doug says that the program really shines a light on what we take for granted.  “One of the things we learned is that when a senior is using the mouse, and they run into the keyboard, they move the keyboard out of the way,” he explains.  “We chuckle at this because it is so fundamental to us—but not to them.”

He learned about the program through Emily Curcuruto, a lifestyle consultant at Cedarvale Lodge.  They worked together for a month to figure out how the model should look.  “Cyber-Seniors ties directly into the content I’m delivering.  At the same time, we have a lot of youth that are very good at using social media, but maybe not so good at human interaction.  I wanted them to learn the value of developing a personal relationship.”

There are also additional benefits for seniors in accessing memories.  When one of the residents found his childhood home on Google Maps, he found a nearby dance hall he used to go to, and spent the rest of the period talking about this time in his life.

After Doug described the program to his students, eleven of them opted to make Cyber-Seniors their leadership project.  It was an easy choice for mentor Krystyn.  “This way, it was guaranteed I would make a difference with someone,” she explains.

Following the completion of the program, a Graduation Ceremony is held at Cedarvale Lodge.  Residents wear the traditional academic cap and gown and are accompanied by their mentors into a decorated hall full of family and friends.

One resident of the program who grew up in Europe during the war, never had the opportunity to graduate high school.  “At that time, not many people, especially girls, went on to higher education,” she says.  “We didn’t have graduations.  We just had to start working.”

Many of the residents have great-grandchildren who they are now in contact with through social media, thanks to the Cyber-Seniors program and the student mentors. They have been able to connect with others over the Internet, explore topics of interest, learn about new ones, and access different sources of entertainment.

Cyber-Seniors has helped the seniors maintain relationships and access memories while offering students an education in leadership, patience, and intergenerational understanding.  The program is now being introduced in all of Sienna’s residences in Canada in partnership with local high schools, proving that it’s never too late to start learning.

Read Article (Drew Tapley | | 04/11/2016)

There are many high-school and college student programs that have attained international acclaim all across Canada and the United States.  The mere fact of such recognition speaks volumes for the need to do more in addressing Digital Literacy.

As this article so elegantly demonstrates, Internet access is definitely important but Digital Literacy & effective, patient instruction is just as important, if not more.  Not to mention the benefits of social interaction that come with face-to-face communication.

Also, older adults that live in senior care communities represent less than half of the elderly population and therefore not familiar with or a part of cyber-seniors.  Our instructional webinars are a long-term solution for addressing Digital Literacy and we need your support.

Master Level High-Tech Webinars