Inspiring Stories

iPad Classes in Mandarin Close the Gap

The ‘digital desert” in which many seniors live is not just a divide due to geography or income.  Sometimes it’s a matter of language. Asian-Americans of the foreign-born population, one study found, are the most likely to be offline.

Montgomery County steps up

Senior Planet Montgomery from AARP, Montgomery County, and the Chinese Culture and Community Service Center (CCACC) provided two iPad courses in early 2021, covering iPad basics in Mandarin, each over five weeks. (Learn more about the courses here.) Outside of English and Spanish, Chinese, including Mandarin, is the third most commonly language spoken in Montgomery County.

Some participants shared their experience with the classes (translated from Mandarin into English):

iPad course enriches life

“I am very happy to meet Teacher Maa. I am very honored to be able to participate in the iPad computer course. You were very meticulous and friendly to teach us how to master the iPad and connect to the online world. I also learned how to use Gmail and various apps. Although I haven’t learned well enough, as an 86-year-old woman, I will still continue to work hard to learn to enrich my life. I am very grateful to Teacher Maa for spending time teaching us iPad in your busy schedule. I sincerely wish Teacher Maa and your family a happy and healthy life!” -Pak

A New Gmail Fan! 

“Thank you for teaching us how to use Gmail yesterday. It solved my problems. I have had Gmail for a long time but never used it because I didn’t know how. I just thought that I am familiar with Hotmail and it’s easy to use, so I have never tried to find out how to use Gmail. Yesterday in class you introduced its usages in detail to make me realize that Gmail is indeed a very convenient tool. Finally, I can do Gmail now. Really appreciate MoCo for this course. I’ve learned so much!” -Deying

 A Grateful Learner 

“I am participating in the SPM iPad courses, taught by Ms. Ma and Ms. Cheng. The detailed chapter-by-chapter explanation in each class allows me to learn more about the knowledge of the iPad, especially many features and symbols of Google, and how to apply useful applications on it。

“Only by continuous learning can we avoid falling behind the generation gap with young people.”

“The internet world is vast. We are growing up in this 21st-century technology era. Only by continuous learning can we avoid falling behind the generation gap with young people. And the two teachers are our navigators, leading us into different website applications. I am even more surprised that Gmail hides a lot of symbols and functions. The teachers taught us to distinguish between effective letters, phishing, and scams. It is ingenious. I am very grateful for your company’s contribution and the teachers’ enthusiasm for teaching. I also thank Ms. Wang communicated and reminded us before each class, we are really fortunate!  — Susan Pai 白淑華敬上

A New Attitude, Says Trainer 

Trainer Ying Cheng says of the seniors she helped, “I have noticed that seniors graduating from the iPad essentials course are more confident in exploring and applying new applications on smart devices toward their daily lives. I think this is because the course takes a systemic approach which also combines fundamental knowledge and hands-on practice.”

The participants in the course were honored in Senior Planet’s first virtual graduation ceremonies, and were done 100% in Mandarin (with English captioning).

Want to join in?  Here’s a link to the graduation ceremony on our youtube channel:

Help at hand

This course furthers Senior Planet Montgomery’s and the County’s partnership with CCACC, hosting technology lectures once a week. In addition to the virtual course, participants can take advantage of office hours and a specific live hotline number created just for their course. These courses are possible in part from the Montgomery County Department of Technology Services and Office of Broadband Programs, as well as Senior Planet Montgomery- CCACC staff and volunteers.

For more information: 

A third iPad course is currently underway. For future courses, please visit



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