Announcing the August Connect Chicago Meetup: Serving Chicago’s Seniors

At the next Connect Chicago Meetup, we’ll have a conversation about technology training programs supporting Chicago’s senior population. We’ll hear from two important local projects: Microsoft’s DigiSeniors Curriculum & the Chicago Public Library’s Digital Learn Platform.

Event: Connect Chicago Meetup: Serving Chicago’s Seniors

Date: Friday, August 18, 2017

Time: 11am – 1pm

Place: Microsoft  — 200 E. Randolph Suite 200

RSVP here

This is an incredibly important conversation to have across service providers and partners in Chicago. In general, seniors nationwide are more likely to be on the wrong side of the digital divide — both less likely to have broadband in their homes and less likely to own a computer. Chicago is no different. Here are the estimated percentages of Chicago residents who own a computer and have Internet access, by age group:

Data Source: ACS 2015 – 1 year

Last year, Microsoft started to address this need though DigiSeniors — a curriculum tailored to senior learners new to technology. In 2016, Microsoft spoke at a Connect Chicago Meetup and kicked off a series of train-the-trainer sessions with technology instructors from different neighborhoods, nonprofits, libraries, and community centers across Chicago. This year Microsoft is presenting newly updated curriculum and a full Leader’s Guide, and will be hosting even more free train-the-trainer sessions for anyone seeking to learn how to instruct senior learners in computer basics. Sessions will be held on Wednesday August 23rd, Tuesday September 12th, and Friday October 6th. You can sign up for a session at this form, also embedded at the end of this post.

At the same time, Chicago Public Library was developing Chicago Digital Learn which is an online platform which assists everyone, including seniors, in learning how to use a computer.  Chicago Digital Learn is free for anyone to use and contains video based interactive lessons which are easy to use and easy to understand.  Getting Started with a computer, Intro to Email, Using a PC, Online Job Searching, Intro to Facebook are some of the lessons offered. 

Now Chicago Public Library and Microsoft have collaborated to create additional lessons on Chicago Digital Learn which appeal to everyone but especially to seniors—Keeping Safe on Your Computer and Making Your Computer Easier To Use.  The content for these courses comes from Microsoft’s DigiSeniors and provides another way this important information is disseminated.  These lessons are aided by instruction of CyberNaviagtors (computer tutors) in Chicago Public Library branches across the city. 

So now instructors can utilize both resources in working with their new computer learners including seniors.

Come join the conversation and help fuel an equitable tech ecosystem in Chicago! Meet and network with computer trainers, nonprofit professionals, technologists, community advocates, and fellow residents who care about digital inclusion in Chicago. Please RSVP at this link so we can get an accurate count for lunch.

Special guests that will share their work and help us discuss this topic include:

  • Shelley Stern Grach, Microsoft Chicago
  • Anna Draft, Microsoft Chicago Fellow
  • Mark Andersen, Chicago Public Library
  • Kate Lapinski, Chicago Public Library

The Connect Chicago Meetup is a monthly gathering of computer trainers, nonprofit professionals, and fellow residents who care about the digital lives of Chicagoans. Email Denise Linn, Program Analyst at Smart Chicago, with any questions, concerns or ideas for future Connect Chicago Meetups:

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