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Finding training for seniors with new smartphones, tablets and more

Technology changes faster than older people can keep up.  The latest Android or iPhone is entering the market shortly. Those who may have thought they just HAD the latest, are presented again with modest technological change and plenty of hype. Those that still hang on to much older cell phones will again consider a change -- and surely sales reps want to move the current models before the newest ones crowd the shelves.  But boomers, for example, don’t use their phones in the same way younger people do. And only 50% of seniors age 75+ even have Internet access. So first there is a technology ownership gap, then an access gap, then finally a training gap that must be closed. Here are 6 methods for gaining training in devices and software, with descriptive text drawn from their various websites: 

AARP TEK. "Focused on the 50-plus population, workshops in 20 urban locations in which individuals bring their own devices, and 4 locations in which devices are supplied, including The Villages (Ocala, FL), population of 114,000 people aged 50+. From the website: " During our free two-hour TEK Workshop we will supply the mobile device for you to use. Hands-on workshops include: Intro to Smartphones and Tablets, Beyond the Basics With Smartphones and Tablets, Intro to Facebook and Other Social Networks, and Fraud Protection and Online Safety. During our free 90-minute Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Workshops we allow you to bring your personal Android device. The topic is: Getting Started With Android Smartphones.  You must bring your own Android smartphone to this workshop to participate." Learn more at AARP TEK.

Oasis Connections Technology. "OASIS Connections has enrolled over 92,000 adults in classes to build skills and confidence using computers, the Internet and portable devices. We partner with public library systems, job help centers, senior centers and faith-based organizations to teach digital literacy skills.  Our partners choose Connections because the courses are written for adult learners, with step-by-step instructions with lots of illustrations. Our courses really work to help you deliver digital readiness training to your audience easily and cost effectively Training is available on.iPad, iPhone, Android tablet and Android phone; Computer, Windows 7 and 8.1; Microsoft Office; Email, Internet and WiFi; Job search and resume writing; Facebook, Google, eBay, Picasa, Internet safety, genealogy, photography and more. 9 courses translated to Spanish, 2 courses translated to Korean." Learn more at

Best Buy Geek Squad. "Tired of calling your niece every time you want to do something a little fancy with this month’s PowerPoint presentation? Let us know what you’d like to master and we will hook you up with one of our experts. It’s amazing what an Agent can teach you. Aside from instruction on specific software packages, we offer personalized training to help you understand your technology. Topics include: Introduction to Computers; Working with Photos; Staying Safe Online; Personal Media (MP3) Players; Working with Videos; Introduction to Macs; Introduction to Office; Social Media." Learn more at Best Buy.

Bask Remote Technology Support for Seniors. "Bask provides secure remote technology support that is a perfect fit for seniors aging at home. Our Technology Advisors are friendly, patient, and familiar with a wide range of digital devices. Our Connect client, antivirus software, and online backup services are “always on,” protecting our Members’ computers in the background while they stay connected with family, friends and the world. If you’re looking for a complete, all-in-one support system, we’ve got you covered. Monthly memberships make an excellent gift for Boomer moms and dads, and they’re a wise investment for folks eager to learn how to get the most from their computers and devices. Remote technology support for seniors is a valuable resource for today’s connected family."  Learn more at Bask.

Verizon.  "Verizon offers online forums for questions and answers, and in addition offers in-store workshops for first time and follow-up use of devices like iPhone or Android phones.  “Attend an in-store workshop and learn everything you'd like to know about your device. You'll get personalized, hands-on training from a Verizon Wireless expert. Use the workshop finder tool to find a workshop near you." Learn more at Verizon.

Sprint Direct2You.  "Direct 2 You makes life a little less hectic. Designed to save you time and hassle, we'll personally deliver your new phone and our expertise directly to where you live, work or even where you order your coffee. Simply show your I.D. at the beginning of your appointment, and get new phone activation, data transfer from your old phone, and a handy tutorial - all included in your one-on-one visit - for free!" Learn more at Sprint.




AARP now sees this training only in the context of job training.  Too bad.


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