Examples of Local, Regional and National
The Creative Retirement Institute is sponsored by
Edmonds Community College and affiliated with the Elderhostel Network of Institutes for
Learning in Retirement (ILR). CRI endorses the concept that most older adults value
education, aspire to lifelong learning and are intense, self-motivated learners, eager to
accept the challenge offered by college- level courses. Computer training for seniors is
offered jointly by CRI (beginning and introductory classes) and the state-supported Senior
Program (more advanced computer applications). www.cce.edcc.edu/cri/default.htm.
The Northhaven Computer Learning Center is one of several such
centers in Washington State retirement homes, funded by a grant from the US Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD). A HUD representative says that over half of
Washingtons computer learning centers are in senior facilities. Bob Dixon, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
SeniorNet of Puget Sound, the local chapter of the national SeniorNet
organization, has a computer learning center offering classes for computer owners and
non-owners on word processing, spread sheeting, databases, desktop publishing, Internet,
Windows, Quicken and genealogy. In exchange for office space, volunteers teach courses in
the middle school where SeniorNet is located. Cliff Wuesthoff, President, (425) 746-1392, email@example.com
The Wallingford Community Senior Center offers beginning and intermediate
computing classes and the "Computer Pals" intergenerational pen
pal, socializing and web surfing program with a local elementary school. Marty Boggs,
Director, (206) 461-7825, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Generation Connection Society is a non-profit
society in Vancouver BC that develops educational programs to foster intergenerational
communication. They offer computer literacy programs for seniors at community centers and
other facilities, with the intent of having seniors upload information on their website
and interact with young people and other seniors on topics such as aging and ageism. (604)
731-5399, email@example.com, www.genconn.bc.ca.
The Kennewick Senior Centers Computer Learning Center provides both
classroom and one-on-one instruction. Courses include basic computer operation,
WordPerfect, Windows 95/Windows 3.1, Microsoft Works and Internet. (509) 585-4303, www.ci.kennewick.wa.us/parks/senior/toc.htm.
AARP, Microsoft, Sony and CompUSA are co-sponsoring the Lifetime Connections
Computing Seminars for seniors. A trained and certified Microsoft representative
who understands the computing needs of older people leads all sessions. Computers are
available for hands-on usage following the presentation. www.aarp.org/.
Multnomah (OR) Community Televisions
computer lab offers classes on
computer use, introduction to the Web and some genealogical information. They estimate
that 33-50% of the people over age 55 that they serve currently know how to use a
computer. J.E. Knox, Engineer/Data Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is offering Introduction
to Web Surfing classes for senior adults. Members and visitors pay no extra fees to join
the classes. Those attending are provided with hands on access and are encouraged to use
computers available at OMSI, public libraries, schools, or in their homes to complete
on-line self-study assignments. OMSI Information Science Hall, (503) 797-4585, email@example.com www.omsi.edu/educprogs/classes/seniors/.
At the Acorn Public Housing Complex, the City of
Oakland and the IBM Corporation are planning to outfit a 206-unit community with
fiber-optic cables, computers in every apartment and a high-tech learning center.
Residents will be able to take classes in their homes and those who pass will be certified
by IBM and placed in jobs with local companies. Bernard Bowler, IBM Regional Director of
Government and Higher Education Accounts.
Funded by a federal Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance
Program (TIIAP) grant, the New York State Office for the Aging is developing ASNet,
a service backbone via the Internet to: 1) establish linkages among aging service
providers for sharing critical client, service and program information; 2) provide remote
access for field workers who serve the homebound; 3) provide end users with convenient
access to critical information; and 4) empower more mobile elderly and caregivers of the
frail to access services independently. www.aging.state.ny.us/nysofa
BEV-Seniors are a diverse group of senior citizens from the Blacksburg area of
Virginia whose primary mission is utilize the community facilities of the Blacksburg
Electronic Village to create a simple avenue for all seniors to access the
Internet. Computer skills and other interests are shared via the BEV-Seniors
Listserv, The BEV "Seniors Information Page," the "Seniors
On-Line Page," monthly meetings and the Senior Computer Learning Center
in the Blacksburg Community Center. The center offers classes for seniors on the Internet
and basic computer problem-solving skills. In addition, the Seniors Association sponsors
four levels of computer classes for seniors through the New Media Center at Virginia Tech.
One of the BEV-Senior's first undertakings with the center was the Youth-Seniors
Project, which set up communication via e-mail between seniors and second-graders
at Margaret Beeks School. Joy Herbert, BEV Senior Programs Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.bev.net/community/seniors/.
Bobby is a free web-based service that helps make web pages accessible to
people with disabilities. After the user types in the location (URL) of a web page, Bobby
examines it and reports on its accessibility shortcomings. Bobby was created at CAST
(Center for Applied Special Technology), a non-profit organization founded to
expand opportunities for all peopleespecially those with disabilitiesthrough
the innovative uses of computer technology. www.cast.org.
The Center for Information Technology Accommodation (CITA) is a technical
demonstration and resource center assisting federal agencies to achieve maximum utility in
IT architecture and public service applications for Americans whose contributions to
society reflect broad life-experience differences (disability, language, aging, location,
culture, income, etc.). It has created Managing Information Resources for Accessibility,
a primer featuring an overview of universal access policy from a federal perspective.
Susan Brummel, Director, email@example.com
ElderWeb is an on-line community of older adult computer users founded by the
Arts and Science Division of Grant MacEwan Community College in Edmonton, AB. For an
annual fee, members have 24 hours/day, 365 days/year access to other members to post
messages and receive solutions to computer use problems. Knowledgeable individuals who can
consult professionals in the ElderWeb office monitor discussion groups. Peter R. Brown,
Project Administrator, (403) 497-5506, firstname.lastname@example.org,
The Environmental Alliance for Senior Involvements (EASI) mission
is to promote in senior Americans an environmental ethic that results in expanding their
knowledge, commitment, and active involvement in protecting and caring for our environment
for present and future generations. EASIs web site features on-line discussion
groups, over 150 environmental links and an electronic newsletter. www.easi.org/.
Based in New York City, Global Action on Aging is an international
organization that works to insure a good life for older people world wide. It reports on
older people's needs and potential and brings together people of all generations to
advocate. GAA maintains electronic mailing lists and its web site contains papers and
publications, links to related web sites, lists of upcoming events and material about the
human rights of older persons. www.globalaging.org/.
The Grand Rapids Community Media Center provides training in radio,
television, and information technology; also access to the equipment necessary and
multi-media transmission possibilities including cable TV, broadcast radio, and the
Internet. It estimates that 10% of its clientele are seniors. Dirk Koning, Executive
Director, (616) 459-4788 ext. 101, www.grcmc.org.
For the Junior Summit 1998, 1000 children from every country in the world
will be selected via a video, photo, musical and art contest to receive a computer and
Internet connection. They will participate in a six-month on-line forum and then choose 60
of their own to attend a six-day summit in Massachusetts to explore technology and other
subjects. These delegates will present the positions they develop to world leaders of
industry, government and education and follow up with local action projects with local
mentors. While not a seniors project, this is an example of an effort to incorporate into
the mainstream an underrepresented age groups views on technology. Justine Cassell,
Organizer, email@example.com, www.jrsummit.org.
Funded in part by another TIIAP grant, the Rogers and Holland (TX) Independent
School Districts "Kids as Agents of Change" Program
teams 300 seniors with 1,300 poor, rural children. Each participant gets an e-mail
address, Internet access and 50 hours of technology training. The teams use Internet and
video conferencing to discuss and research physical and mental health, adult literacy,
agriculture, finance, investment, college, etc. They discuss their results with a
"teleconference mentor" and may follow up with a local campaign on their issue.
Carol Ann Bonds, (817) 642-3802, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Center for Accessible Medias Web Access Project
at WGBH Boston researches, develops and tests methods of integrating access technologies
(such as captioning & audio description) and new tools into a web site, making it
fully accessible to blind or deaf users. Geoff Freed, (617) 492-9258, email@example.com, www.wgbh.org/ncam.
Funded by the National Institutes of Health, SPRY conducted a
nine-month Internet Training Program to determine whether older adults have the motivation
and ability to develop Internet skills to access health care information. 150 retired
persons participated and reported increase confidence in their Internet health searching
skills. Follow-up data indicate that once given knowledge and training, retirees will
pursue searches on their own, and have greater access to pertinent information. The
researchers felt more training programs should be developed and implemented to meet this
need, and enable retirees to have greater access to information. www.spry.org/projdesc/PILOT.htm.
The Senior News Network, an on-line collection of senior-focused
magazines, is a service of SeniorCom., www.seniornews.com.
The Senior Health Foundation (SHF) is a non-profit, privately funded
organization that provides seniors throughout eastern Nebraska and western Iowa
accessible, affordable and hands-on computer classes, free Internet access and curricula
developed specifically for adults over 50. (402) 457-4115, firstname.lastname@example.org,
The Talk City Seniors Center is a place on the Web where senior citizens
can talk about their concerns in discussion groups on seniors' issues including Adult Day
Care, Alzheimers, Caring for an Elderly Parent, Grandparenting, Health, Long Lost
Friends, Remembrance & Reminiscences, Retirement and Senior Travels. www.tcfn.org/seniors.htm.
One senior activists personal home page described the London, England chapter of
a group called the University of the Third Age (U3A), in which seniors
organize, conduct and attend their own classes, seminars, weekends and travel studies.
This group identifies the four ages of life as "Learn, Earn, Independent,
Dependent." "Third Agers" are, for the most part, independent of work and
family commitments. Most classes are taught by amateur seniors who rely on life experience
or hobbies and research, because older adults need a more Socratic professing that elicits
their own knowledge and experience. "U3Aers" also reach out to the home-bound
through a monthly book discussion via telephone conference call, supported by British