Providing beginner tech workshops for non-tech adults and seniors
InternetNZ is striving to build an Internet for all. In our recent 5 point plan for digital inclusion, we highlighted the importance of providing wrap-around support to the newly connected.
This is why we’re providing funding to support TenForward Technology Lounge to improve digital skills and increase confidence and motivation for Internet use, by offering daily workshops.
Who are TenForward Technology Lounge?
Based in Auckland, they operate as a technology lounge to support children on their journey in the online world. In 2018, we awarded grant funds to enable them to diversify their tech education, and open during the day when kids are at school. This meant they could reach beginner Internet usage skills to non-techy adults.
They opened workshops to cover a variety of topics to support older adults with everything from how to get emails on your phone, staying connected with mokopuna via apps and checking bus times. Each workshop forms a standalone beginner’s guide on a particular topic, giving people the tools to solve the problem themselves or access the help they need. InternetNZ funding allowed TenForward to offer these workshops free of charge, and repeat them for maximum reach within the community.
As these workshops were rolled out, TenForward adapted to demand, which called for more one on one sessions, enabling people to overcome fear and frustration that can block technology use. The lessons have been simplified and tailored to meet the needs of attendees. Overwhelmingly, the response has been that of gratitude, with participants able to gain the confidence to carry out new tasks and explore new possibilities through technology.
Adapting to lockdown
As we all adjusted to the restrictions of nationwide lockdown, InternetNZ touched base with TenForward. We supported a shift to online workshops and activities during this period, connecting with both youth and seniors to facilitate ongoing learning and social connection during this stressful time.
For seniors, the focus moved to how to make video conferencing work on devices to enable families to stay connected. As we collectively return to normal and face to face activities resume, TenForward will be visiting retirement villages to help people with specific queries with their phone settings to make their lives easier now that they are getting better at online experiences.
For tamariki, the programmes provided a safe, supervised space for kids to learn and socialise online, with Fortnite, Minecraft and board gaming themed birthday parties. The aim is to take online obsessions to the next level by teaching tools to empower young entrepreneurs. For parents, trying to balance working from home and homeschooling during lockdown, the response has been amazing.
Addressing the digital divide
InternetNZ Chief Executive, Jordan Carter, says ensuring all Kiwis can access the Internet is now more important than ever. “We need to ensure no one is left behind as New Zealand works to recover from COVID-19.”
“It’s important we take a holistic approach. When people think of those digitally excluded, they often think about infrastructure or cost limitations. But it’s much more than that,” says Carter.
“Kiwis also need to have the skills, motivation, and trust to be online.”
As owner and workshop tutor Belinda Hope put it, “we are helping our community upskill their online abilities in our new contactless world.”