ONLINE: Clarence Regional Library team leader for collections and reference Marty Williams with his students at the Tech Savvy Seniors computer class held at the library on Wednesday mornings.
ONLINE: Clarence Regional Library team leader for collections and reference Marty Williams with his students at the Tech Savvy Seniors computer class held at the library on Wednesday mornings. Adam Hourigan

Cyberspace navigation for seniors

IF YOU walked into the Grafton Library on a Wednesday morning over the past couple of months, you might be interested to know that while you were there, hidden away in a corner room, a bunch of tech students have been busy on laptops indulging in things like online shopping and Facebook. And while this may not sound like proper library behaviour, you try telling that to a 93-year-old.

Of course there's nothing unusual with this picture as the weekly gathering of Tech Savvy Seniors spend a couple of hours each week learning the inboxes and outs of navigating and making the most out of computers.

The Daily Examiner dropped in on the free class when the class was all about online shopping, the mixed expressions around the table ranging from intrigue to glee as a newfound pursuit had been realised.

Eighty-three-year old Joan McDonald had made the journey from St Catherine's Villa for her weekly class, which she said was a "bit overwhelming" sometimes.

"My son tells me I should give it a go. I miss a bit because of my hearing, but I like coming here," Mrs McDonald said.

Roberta Farley, who travels up from Iluka to attend the class, was stoked she could buy her favourite fashion label Roxy with a few clicks of a mouse. "This could be dangerous. I'm wearing Roxy right now."

Roberta said the class was very informative and instructor Marty Williams was an excellent teacher. "He has good people skills and is patient which is what is required for this class. And he takes our feedback on board."

Mr Williams said students in the Seniors Tech Savvy class ranged in age from early 60s to the oldest at 93, "but anyone can come along. You just need to book in as places are limited to 10 people per session."

He said the class was designed to help make people more independent, gain life skills and improve decision making and communication. "But you don't have to be senior to come along."

Mr Williams said the students had been learning all aspects of computer use from basic introduction through to setting up email and accounts like Paypal as well as social media. "We go through all the advantages and disadvantages of these things."

And while this run of classes wraps up next Wednesday, June 22, Mr Williams did say they would be holding another seniors' course later this year.

The library also holds informal Tech Time sessions every third Wednesday from 1-3pm.


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