ETAG Online helps residents connect to the digital age
By Kristian Partington
Digital Technology is a continuously evolving beast, rapidly changing and allowing users to connect with each other in ways that seemed the stuff of science fiction only a generation ago. Children born in the digital age seem able to navigate an iPad or a mobile phone almost instinctively, while seniors today need a bit more of a nudge to benefit from the technological world.
That’s where ETAG Online comes in.
The organization was founded with one goal in mind: providing volunteer-driven technology education to adults over the age of 55 through free seminars and workshops. The adage that says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks is, indeed, a myth, for regular ETAG classes have been underway at the Village of Tansley Woods for quite some time now.
“They come into our village and literally teach everything from how to use a digital camera to how to open up e-mails on a computer to iPads – everything,” says recreation director Chris Poos. The fact that so many residents are eager to participate suggests a real desire exists among the older generations to get more out of the technologies available today.
Margot MacDonald says the ETAG classes are something she looks forward to every two weeks, and she’ll never miss a class.
“I’ve always been on the computer,” Margot says. “I’ve got a laptop and I was given the gift of an iPad and I want to know more about the iPad. A lot of the people in here who are in the class have iPads they’ve inherited . . . and they want to know what everything’s all about.”
She says the volunteers who teach the course are beyond helpful and eager to answer any questions participants might have. Margot admits that seniors are sometimes reluctant to try new things, but the ETAG program makes it easy to start learning the basics, and the benefits are many. She has a daughter in Toronto and another in Newfoundland, for example, and she’s able to connect with them and her grandchildren regularly via her iPad.
She’s also able to pass along her knowledge to neighbours, encouraging more of them to get involved in the technology that so many people tend to take for granted these days.
“There’s encouragement there,” Margot says, “and until you try something, you shouldn’t knock it.”
Visit http://etagonline.ca for more information on ETAG’s programs.