SET was developed from the Technology Working Information Group (TWIG), a group of Century House members who put on two Technology Focus Groups in March 2019. A total of 32 community seniors attended the focus groups. The results of this initiative told us that seniors are using and interested in technology.
The focus groups told us that seniors want:
- to use technology, but it can be stressful to keep up with ever-changing technology;
- a safe place to learn and have as a resource;
- small group learning, targeted specific levels, even 1 on 1 learning opportunities;
- to know how to identify scams and be secure in cyberspace,
- tips and opportunities to follow when it comes to technology.
As a result, SET defined its objective as “to deliver a variety of technology to seniors in a user-friendly manner.”
This will generally be done senior-to-senior by Century House volunteers, with outside support as needed.
SET highlights during COVID have included a revamped Facebook page, numerous Zoom presentations, Bring Your Own Device events (see below), 1-1 tech support from seniors for seniors, and more. We’re getting started with hybrid (in-person and Zoom) meetings.
We’re finally maintaining our main Facebook page. It will contain informational announcements, leaving the humour and inspiration to the popular Good Cheer Group. Why not Like and Follow one or both?
Bring Your Own Device Event
We’ve had good turnouts for our Bring Your Own Device support sessions, usually on Monday mornings. Watch the Clarion for details.
Tutoring and support
If you have questions or need help with your electronic device (smartphone, tablet, desktop) SET can help. We’re back in business for individual problem-solving, advice and support for all your computing challenges. We’ll connect you with Century House volunteers who have an interest in assisting other members with their electronic device (Apple, Android or Windows). They are by no means experts but could help solve those issues or at least point you in the right direction for answers.
To make an appointment, call the Century House front desk at 604-522-1066 and leave your name — or email Centuryhouse@newwestcity.ca. You will be matched up with a SET trainer who is most familiar with your type of device.
PLEASE NOTE: Because of the close contact required for this support, our volunteers will not work with an unvaccinated person. This is not a Century House policy; it is the choice of the volunteers offering this free service. If you are unvaccinated, please don’t request this service.
SET is working with the Digital Inclusion Partnership, with Douglas College, the City, and the Purpose Society. The partnership seeks to enhance digital inclusion—access to and assistance with modern communications technology—across New Westminster more broadly. The current project, the Digital Inclusion Hub, isn’t specifically aimed at seniors, but socially isolated seniors are a likely audience for future action. The Hub runs a drop-in tech help centre downtown, and—just as SET does—encourages technology-hesitant people to come for assistance and advice. Here’s a background article about the Hub.
We also keep in touch and share information with the technical staff at the nearby public library.
- Posters and notices – CAN YOU HELP? We also want to use low-tech solutions for outreach to posters and notices in apartment and condo towers that allow it. If yours is one of those buildings, and you’d be willing to put up a notice once in a while, please contact Sydney McGillis by text or phone at 778-840-2139 ( 9 a.m.–8 p.m. please)
- We’re working with City staff as they determine the future of the Computer Lab.
- In summer 2019, we met with the New Westminster Public Library and became familiar with their computer equipment and technology courses. They are keen to help us offer similar sessions tuned for seniors. They also run on the same city technology platform as we do.
- In fall 2019, we presented a workshop on Cloud Storage and several sessions on iPhones. More such information sessions have been held ever since.
- In early 2020, we started to offer training in the computer lab and 1-1 sessions wherever space is available at Century House. The first step was an Open House and Bring-Your-Own-Device drop-in session; the latter continue once a month. Presentations continued online.
- Also in 2020, we secured grants to fund some of the expenditures needed to make this a reality. We acquired some recording gear, an iPad and MacBook, and some meeting room hardware.
- During the COVID-19 restrictions, SET members were active online, with the Talk New West video interviews, Zoom presentations by the Century House Players, social sessions online, and dozens of one-time or multi-session presentations on Zoom [see the Octopus entry below].
Five project areas
Over time, SET hopes to have five project areas:
- Webinar: Develop our webinar capabilities – purchase software, learn software, prepare manual, get a Century House YouTube Channel for easy access to videos, make and post webinars. We want to make senior-focused how-to videos, video workshops and other things at Century House so that seniors can share with other seniors, including those who are isolated. This technology should also permit live sessions with a variety of people in different locations.
- Cyber Security: Working with the New West Police, develop a campaign with useful information and develop partnerships around the community to get the information out to local seniors.
- Technology Training Programs: For beginners, intermediate and advanced seniors. Programs that local seniors want and need – how to set up email, using apps on your phone, word processing, paying bills online, and more. We hope to develop five programs with user-friendly manuals and train the trainer capabilities.
- Video/Photo Production: Develop our video/photo production capabilities, develop programs on how to make a video and post online and how to enhance photos, and promote the CHA YouTube Channel.
- Technology Special Event: Develop a technology special event that would highlight all the learnings and celebrate Seniors Embracing Technology.
In summer 2020 Shelly Schnee launched a special project, called OCTOPUS for its wide reach. She described it as “an outreach to seniors in the community that focuses on technology and information.” OCTOPUS includes virtual programs on technology and on art, music, anything creative or educational; access to information; and fraud prevention. Full details are here.
These goals are broadly aligned with the wider goals of SET, and several SET members have been OCTOPUS presenters.
SET IS LOOKING FOR NEW TEAM MEMBERS. You do not have to be an expert with electronics or software. Being comfortable using technology is the key. The main goal of SET is to encourage our members that their devices are not scary and to sympathetically help our members through a problem. We are looking for seniors to volunteer to offer one-on-one support, and as we expand SET there will be other roles where you might fit in with this great team. Please contact: Joy St. John for more information, at 604-819-1946 or firstname.lastname@example.org She’d love to talk to you about our wonderful SET team.