Those native to the tech scene know a lot more about the Internet than the average person. Seniors, on the other hand, have largely missed out on the World Wide Web, barring some exceptions (like my great great uncle).
We’ve all likely experienced that moment: trying to explain social networks to our grandparents with little luck. And while new cultural trends like Facebook don’t always gel well with older generations, there’s no reason why seniors can’t begin picking up basic skills. Think using email, search engines, getting directions, etc.
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This is where Google comes in, having held its Age Engage program in Dublin. The program provides free Internet classes to combat low Internet literacy in the older population, and you can get a glimpse at the initiative in the inspiring video below:
After leaving a strong impression on Amanda Del Balso (Community Affairs Co-Lead & AdWords Account Manager at Google) during a visit, Balso decided to bring the initiative to the States.
In a partnership with Cambridge Community Television (CCTV), Google Cambridge launched the Age Engage pilot program in December with about 20 seniors attending two, 2-hour class sessions. The classes are unique in that they level the intense love Googlers have for the internet and channel that into one-to-one training for seniors. The curriculum is loose, explains Del Balso, and while the team aims to establish general search and email skills, each student possess a different skill level, and the classes are really tailored to their individual needs.
The reality is, the benefits of Internet literacy can help improve the quality of life for all demographics. This program has real potential to change lives around the globe, and it’s great to see that Google is putting some of its weight behind it.
Right now, the program is pushing for more and more classes, “with the ultimate goal of providing one-on-one tutoring to 250 local seniors before the end of the year.”
“Moving forward, we’re really going to try to focus on improving the in-class experience for the students already coming, and see how we can make it bigger or better,” says Del Balso.
For more, check out BostInno’s piece and the CCTV video introducing the Age Engage program via the link below: