By Amanda Moses
If there is anything that the year 2020 has taught us, it is that technology and the internet are crucial tools to utilize in this day and age, and not just for class assignments or to get projects done, but to stay connected with society. The fast-paced internet is like the Wild, Wild West, with new applications and digital territory being created every day. So, what happens to those of us who did not grow up with a smartphone glued to their hand?
Some older adults have had a hard time trying to grapple with this new sense of reality, especially during a time of such devastation, fear, and isolation. Facilities such as libraries, internet cafes, and computer labs have been closed off to the public due to health and safety restrictions. While the SITEC Lab is closed in the lower level of the Brooklyn Sports Club, there are free virtual tech support, workshops, and one-on-one sessions being held for the Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) community.
Olidia Gordon is one senior who went from a tech novice to a savvy web surfer with the help of group lessons with SITEC instructor, Kenyatta Solomon via Zoom. Gordon shared that her main motivation for registering with SITEC’s Zoom lessons was to gain a basic understanding of her laptop and social applications that would allow her to stay in touch with family, friends and former co-workers.
“I wanted to learn more about the Zoom platform and other applications,” Gordon said, proudly sharing that she has learned how to host and join Zoom meetings on her own.
Gordon recently retired from Elmhurst Hospital Center on July 1st, 2020 after 23 years of working within the patient accounts financial department. The isolation of the pandemic and need to stay busy were additional motivators for Gordon to attempt to master digital tools.
“I am so pleased with the program. Kenyatta is an excellent instructor. He explains things very well, and providing that you are eager to learn, it’s a great experience. The other participants are very motivated, and everyone is there by choice,” Gordon said.
Gordon has an iPhone 11 and a laptop, and after her lessons she feels confident to use both platforms to create Zoom sessions with family, and even attend virtual church services.
“I appreciate the fact that I can now create a meeting with my family,” Gordon said eagerly, adding, “In today’s day and age with COVID, the more you know about these platforms, you are able to expand your communication with others.”
With two adult daughters, one living in Richmond, Queens and the other in Miami, Florida, and two grandsons, Gordon knows the importance of corresponding with family. She proudly shared that she held a Zoom party with her family, and had a wonderful time catching up while she remained quarantined in her apartment.
Gordon is pleased with the SITEC program and has even passed along her new-found knowledge to her sister. She purchased an iPad for her sister and explained how to download applications so that they both can communicate virtually.
“A lot of the things, I’ve learned have helped me to move more quickly when using Zoom,” Gordon said.
The next steps for Gordon are mastering Spanish through virtual lessons and learning how to use Microsoft PowerPoint.
Screenshot by Amanda Moses