QUESTION: Can you recommend some good technology classes or online learning resources for inexperienced seniors? I have a computer and a smartphone, but my knowledge and skills are pretty limited.
ANSWER: Many technology teaching tools are available to older adults that can help you learn tech skills so you can better utilize your devices. Here are some good options to consider.
Local classes or workshops: Depending on where you live, community resources might offer beginning computer and personal technology classes, be it online or in person, for older adults who are new to technology. To find out what’s available in your area, contact your local public library, senior center, college or university, or local stores that sell computers. Your Area Agency on Aging might also be able to help you. Visit the Eldercare Locator at Eldercare.acl.gov or call (800) 677-1116 to get your local number.
GetSetUp.io: This is one of the best online learning websites that partner with guides to provide training on tech tools for adults age 50 and older. They provide more than 350 online classes taught in real time by retired educators and tech industry experts in a way that lets older adults learn by doing versus just watching a video.
Their technology classes — all taught via Zoom — cover things such as learning how to use smartphones and tablets, how to set up and use Zoom, how to utilize Gmail features, how to recognize online scams, how to sell your stuff online and so much more. Most of their classes are free; however, some charge a small fee.
SeniorPlanet.org: Created and sponsored by national nonprofit Older Adults Technology Services, or OATS, and recently joining forces with AARP, Senior Planet offers 60-and-older adults a wide variety of free online courses, programs and activities that are taught in real time to help seniors learn technology skills, as well as save money, get in shape and make friends.
Some of its more popular tech classes include “All Things Zoom,” “Everything Smartphones” and an “Introduction to Social Media.” It even offers a “lunch & learn — tech discussion group” offered at various times throughout the year where you can ask questions as well as share your struggles and experiences.
And, if you ever have a technology question that pops up during the week, you can call the National Senior Planet Hotline for tech help at (920) 666-1959 during working hours Monday through Friday.
OasisEverywhere.org: This nonprofit educational organization for older adults provides more than 10 low-cost or free online computer, internet and mobile technology courses for beginners. And when the pandemic dies down, it will resume offering beginner tech classes in its 27 locations (located in nine states) throughout the country.
CandooTech.com: This company provides fee-based online tech support and training to help older adults feel more comfortable with phones, computers, tablets, home safety devices and more.
Its specially trained tech concierges will teach you how to use your technology, fix what’s not working and install software, as well as learn how to set up and use email, video chat, social media, online shopping and entertainment, ride sharing services and more.
It offers one-hour one-on-one or small-group sessions for $50, or you can become a member and get two 90-minute training sessions plus unlimited quick support (30 minutes or less) for $180 per year. It also provides device installation and setup done remotely for $180.
TechBoomers.com: This is a free educational website that provides video and article tutorials that teach older adults and other inexperienced technology users how to use the most popular and trusted websites, apps and devices.
Jim Miller is editor of the Savvy Senior. Send your senior questions to Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit www.savvysenior.org.