I met with AARP yesterday to determine how to coordinate the AARP TEK Workshop series with the Senior Internet Café program.
AARP will conduct a series of work shops at Maplewood City Hall in February or March of 2018 to teach seniors from our area on how to use Android devices (tablets and phones). A description of the program can be found at: https://aarptek.aarp.org/tablets-phones/ . The workshops will be open to the AARP community.
I have about a dozen tutors lined up to help our senior citizens at times to be determined at Foundation Grounds and Stone Spiral. By attending the TEK Workshops, they will see what topics need to be taught and how AARP engages the seniors as students.
By scheduling specific times at the two coffeehouses, tutors and seniors can mingle, learn from and teach other seniors on how to become connected to their families, communities, and the world through the use of Android devices, their applications and the internet.
I have already personally purchased about 15 tablets so the tutors can learn on them and then we will distribute those tablets to seniors. By having their own device, seniors can have their own email and social media accounts and use them at home (if they have internet access) or at any location where they can log on to free Wi-Fi. They will be taught how to Skype with family, internet security and a whole list of other topics that should make their lives safer, more informed and more connected.
I anticipate that there will be tablets on sale this holiday season for around $30 each. I will probably pick up some more devices, but I know that one of the volunteers is an IT professional and is contacting manufacturers to see if they will donate tablets for the program. We can also look in the future at recycling laptops and other devices that are donated so they can be wiped clean and used for the less intensive operations we will be teaching.
For the TEK workshops, I plan to provide devices (for Maplewood residents only), arrange refreshments, and compile a list of locations in our city that provide free Wi-Fi access. We need to figure out how to get open access to workshop participants without using up the City’s bandwidth. I have been working with service providers on free or low cost access for the community and will continue that effort. I will also reach out to the MRH School District and Kiwanis Key Club for their participation.