Overcoming the digital divide
North East seniors recently embraced smartphone technology thanks to workshop, which will be rolled out to more constituencies and schools in the district.
The North East Community Development Council (CDC), Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), Samsung Electronics Singapore and Sengkang Central Active Ageing Committee reached out recently to North East seniors in a three-hour smartphone workshop. The workshop, which is part of a pilot programme which will run until March 2017, is in response to meet seniors’ demand for a smartphone literacy programme.
Eighty seniors from Sengkang Central got a glimpse of various mobile operating systems before learning basic functions such as a mobile device layout, media and lifestyle tools, connecting to Wi-Fi and the Internet, and downloading of apps. The seniors were accompanied by 80 volunteers from the Ministry of Manpower’s IT department who guided them through the workshop.
Shared Shamsul Kamar, vice-chairperson for North East CDC and adviser to Aljunied GRC grassroots organisations, “Ultimately, our residents benefit from such initiatives and we are glad that corporate partners such as Samsung and our community partners understand the needs of our seniors.
“Increasingly, we rely on our smartphones for many things such as searching for information, accessing our e-mails, making video calls and sharing beautiful memories with the photographs captured through our phone camera. Imagine, being a senior who wished they could do the same with their families and loved ones. The ability to do all these independently, with efficiency and without any worries, would be extremely beneficial to them.”
The Seniors Smart Phone Workshop aims to roll out to 11 more constituencies and schools in the district, reaching out to at least 280 pairs of seniors and student volunteers. These workshops will be conducted in schools with students acting as cyberguides. The students will use their smartphone knowledge to help seniors while bonding with them. These students will also cultivate leadership traits and have the opportunity to understand seniors’ learning styles and hurdles.
Leong Keng Thai, deputy chief executive, IDA, said, “Seniors have much to gain by learning how to use the various features and apps found in smartphones. Through such courses, they can experience the benefits of being digitally-connected and even bond with their family members, especially the younger generation.”
Added Joshua Hon, head of customer service, Samsung Electronics Singapore, “The Seniors Smart Phone Workshop is a great platform for the community to get together to help seniors explore the benefits of technology. Most seniors limit their smartphone use to the basic features that they are familiar with. This is a wonderful initiative for seniors to discover new smartphone uses, while enriching their social and family lives.”