It is easy to feel left out when trying to understand the rapidly changing technology around us. Especially when you don’t have access to a computer or someone in your life to support your learning. Gaining digital skills, can help people feel more connected to what’s happening in their community and more confident both at work and doing everyday tasks.
Since 2011 our team of staff and dedicated volunteers have run an informal weekly drop-in class which has welcomed people of all ages from Knowle West and across Bristol to learn more about computers, the internet and technology.
A regular attendee of the class is Roger, who bought his first smartphone at the age of 75. He was referred to us by the charity LinkAge as he was hoping to meet more people. Roger has now been attending the weekly drop in for over three months and has grown in confidence in using technology in his everyday life.
Here’s how he tackled technology in just 12 weeks:
Roger’s first session. We started with a chat about what he wanted to learn. He brought his new smartphone and we worked together to show him the basics (charging, unlocking, answering calls).
We continued to support Roger to get comfortable with the phone, moving onto messaging, adding contacts and understanding the operating software of the device.
Roger downloaded his first app. He then found apps for news, sport and billing for his phone provider. That afternoon he joined us at our Celebrating Age event and tried a virtual reality headset in our technology taster session. We introduced him to south Bristol social groups including a local history group and retired men’s woodworking group.
One month in, Roger started to learn more about browsing the web and being safe online. We supported him to resolve an issue by contacting a company via their help pages online.
We introduced Roger to Learn My Way, a free website which provides online courses in using computers and navigating the internet. We also continued to help him get the most out of his smartphone and he started to watch sport on an app when out and about.
This was Roger’s second week progressing through the Learn My Way online courses. He also continued to browse the web with our support.
Roger received a letter prompting him to renew his driving licence online and we helped him through the online process. He brought in photographs of his fishing success stories and we discussed how he could digitally scan them and share them online.
We supported Roger to check his pension and savings accounts securely online. Together we also researched social clubs and art classes in his local area.
Roger learned how to travel the world on Google Earth. We virtually toured a restaurant he visited in Malta over 20 years ago.
We continued progressing through the Learn My Way online courses and Roger shared the news with us that he had joined a running rugby group.
This week saw more web browsing and we started learning about online shopping.
Roger won a ham at a local raffle so he researched cooking tips and recipes using online video tutorials.
We’re really proud of the progress that Roger has made and we’re looking forward to learning new things with him each week. Our drop-in sessions are free for the first six weeks and then just £3 per session.
We’re always keen to welcome new members and volunteers to the class, so if you’d like to refresh your digital skills or start from scratch get in touch and join us.