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 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 part of the continuing development of hybrid (in-person and Zoom) meetings.
Bring Your Own Device sessions
If you have questions or need help with your electronic device (smartphone, tablet, desktop) SET can help. We’ve had good turnouts for our Bring Your Own Device support sessions, usually on the fourth Monday of the month (Apple at 10, PC/Android at 11).
The BYOD sessions are limited to Century House members only and priority will be given to those who pre-register. So please sign up in advance at the Century House front desk.
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.
- In fall 2023, we’ll be looking at the GLUU system for providing digital literacy training for seniors.
- We’re working with City staff as they determine the future of the Computer Lab at Century House.
- 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].
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 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 email@example.com She’d love to talk to you about our wonderful SET team.