By Bobbie Preston, President SeniorNet
2023 has been a fantastic year for Whitianga SeniorNet.
We have increased our membership from 50 seniors at the beginning of the year to 87 currently. This has been due to the desire of local seniors to increase their ability and knowledge of technology, coupled with outreach efforts by SeniorNet Whitianga’s Committee.
Our hard-working Committee and Tutors have taken extra time to run “Drop In” sessions for potential members at our meeting room in the Whitianga Social Services building. At these sessions, potential members were able to sit down with a Tutor or Committee Member and get acquainted with what SeniorNet has to offer while they partake of a cuppa and biscuit.
Some of our seniors are comfortable using their smart phones, laptops, smart TV’s, and the information systems in their cars. However, there is a sizeable number of the older population who are nervous and hesitant about using their smart phones for anything other than making or answering phone calls. Also, using a new TV or car can be challenging when set up is involved but our SeniorNet tutors, Pam, Meg, Molly and Alan are there to help unravel the mysteries of devices and apps and how to get the best out of them.
This year we have run an average of six One-on-One tutorials a week. This is a private session where a tutor is there to guide a senior through whatever issues they are having with their device, whether it be an Apple or Android product. These sessions are very popular as they provide an in-depth, comfortable, and “safe” environment where learning and experimenting are maximised.
In contrast to the One-On-One experience, and in the spirit of having something for everyone, we run interest groups for iPhone users or Android users where a tutor provides guidance on new apps or techniques available, along with the experience of being able to try out new or enhanced ways of using the phone. For those with a penchant for digging into their family history, we run a Genealogy Online Users Group. These groups provide a wealth of useful information, increase the “safety” of trying out new functions on the smart phone or computer while participating in a convivial group of like-minded seniors. A cuppa and biscuit are also offered! These groups meet every fortnight in the afternoon.
SeniorNet also offers “one-off “classes on specific topics e.g., creating Photo Books and calendars using “Snapfish,” or” Fileit or Lose it” on how to organise computer files. These classes are offered throughout the year and the schedule can be found on our Facebook page (for non-members) or via email to members.