It’s never too late to join the digital revolution – just take a look at the 92 year old of Queen of England’s Instagram feed.
Although none of us have the resources of royalty, it’s still possible to embrace new technologies and learn digital skills – for free. Whether you need a basic introduction to computers or to an iPad, want to set up your own website for your business, get up to speed on social media or online banking, or learn how to use technology to make your voice heard, there’s a place to go for free, in-person tech help: Senior Planet! There are two Senior Planet Exploration Centers, one in New York City and one in upstate New York. Additionally, Senior Planet programs are available in Montgomery County, MD; San Antonio, TX; Denver, CO, as well as at partner sites throughout metropolitan New York City.
And don’t worry, being a “techie” is not a requirement for Senior Planet membership; one of its most popular courses, “Computer Basics,” is designed for people who have never turned on a computer or touched a mouse.
The Program Associate at the Senior Planet Exploration Center in Chelsea, Elizabeth Pooran, notes that all courses are designed to be taught at a steady pace to accommodate members at all different levels. “Our classes [offer a] welcoming environment where no question is regarded as ‘dumb,’” she says. “Everyone in the classroom gets the attention they need. In addition, our curriculum is designed in a way that allows users to learn necessary and basic skills step-by-step, with many opportunities to practice and ask questions.”
Membership, which is free to adults over 60, offers perks such as free classes, frequent workshops and one 20-minute Tech Talk per day about a specific computer, tablet, or smartphone-related issue. The trainers and volunteer staff earn high marks for aptitude and attitude, members say. “Trainers are very patient and understanding, and take time to offer extra help to those who need it,” says T.L. Brooks, 68, a member who has been taking classes at Senior Planet since 2016.
Each course – whether it’s Computer Basics, Beyond the Basics, iPad essentials, or Social Media – is designed specifically for older adults, and incorporates a free, in-depth course book to help participants retain what they’ve learned. “The books allow students to continue practicing,” says Pooran, adding that trainers make sure to touch on the previous lesson in each class.
The free 5- and 10- week classes, which are offered at all Senior Planet locations (the list is here) are great reasons to join. But as member Lillet Roach, 69, explains, the reasons for joining go way beyond the classroom. “You meet a lot of friends from different walks of life, listen to their experiences, and they listen to you. The atmosphere is out of this world.”
Want to get your tech on?
The Senior Planet Exploration Center at 127 West 25th Street, Manhattan, is hosting a “Course Information Fair” on Thursday, March 28th from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and Monday, April 1st from 1:30 am to 4:30 pm. “”If you are interested in taking a course at Senior Planet I encourage you to attend one of our Course Information Fairs,” says Aaron Santis, Senior Planet’s Program Manager. “The Course Fair is an excellent opportunity to talk directly to trainers, read through our course books and discover which course is best for you.”
Registration for the Spring Quarter in Chelsea is April 2 (Foundational Courses), April 3rd (Health and Wellness and Financial Security Courses) and April 4th (Creative Expression, Social Engagement, Civic Engagement Courses) starting at 10:15 am (doors open at 10 am, get there early for a first-come, first-served spot). Courses begin the week of April 8th, 2019, unless otherwise noted, and run through June 14th. If you have questions about your skills or ability to participate in a particular course, please call 646-590-0615, or come to the center for one of our Course Information Fairs.”
Senior Planet will be offering classes at over 50 community-based sites across the five boroughs of New Your City. You can find a list of the Senior Planet satellite labs here. Call the labs to find out their hours or get more information.
…introducing “Work!” the newest course at the Senior Planet Exploration Center in NYC
The Spring course offerings will include “Work!” a new 10-week course designed to help members looking for work to navigate the maze of social media, “age-proof” their resumes, write a modern resume and cover letter using Google Docs templates, and use job search websites. The course — with the help of a free take-home Work! book — also offers tips on writing professional emails, emailing attachments, uploading files, and how to ace a video interview. Senior Planet members outside of New York City should check our location list for the nearest Senior Planet Exploration Center to inquire about a local “Work!” course.