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SeniorNet Success Stories

OPEN DAY AT SENIORNET NELSON

Every year Seniornet Nelson holds an Open day early in February. It is always held on a Saturday between 10am - 1 pm. A lot of preparation goes into making the day a success.

This year was no different. The weather was fine and sunny, the preparation was complete and the crowds turned up in their numbers to find out about SeniorNet.

Open day at seniornet nelsonThe SeniorNet hall was set up with 6 members meeting and greeting arrivals. Some were our own members wanting to find out more about what courses they should take but most were people who wanted to keep up with today's technology who either did not how to use a computer or wanted to up skill.

Tables were set up in the hall. Our treasurer and her assistant wrote receipts for new members, our Course coordinator and her assistant then put the new members into Meet and Greet sessions where they find out more about Nelson SeniorNet. Other members and tutors in the hall and the Learning Centre demonstrated our website and our courses and workshops. We also had tables and plenty of chairs around the hall for a cup of tea and a chat.

The day was very busy. As usual some people did not wait for the opening time but arrived before 9.30a.m.. We were ready for them because it happens every year so we are always ready for a 9.30 start. By 12.30pm our committee members, tutors and other volunteers, over 30 altogether, were pleased to see the crowd drop off. We all breathed a sigh of relief when we were able to shut the doors at 1pm.

Open day at seniornet nelsonFifty six new members were signed up on the day which was 6 more than last year. Many others also took membership application forms away, some of which will be completed and returned in the coming weeks. There was a lot of talking and some of us were quite hoarse by the end. Our total membership has increased to 657.

This is only the start of the year. We now have to assimilate our new members into the fold. That means about seven Meet and Greet sessions, (every new member must attend a Meet & Greet), and lots of Introduction and refresher courses.

The year has started with a bang at Nelson SeniorNet and most of committee and tutors wouldn't want it any other way.


Nelson Botanical Society appreciates our facilities.

Recently the Nelson Botanical Society hired the SeniorNet Learning Centre to learn how to use a new interactive computer based key, which will enable identification of any of the 53 species of Coprosma currently recognized in New Zealand. Lindsay Hunter also attended, not just to keep a watchful eye on the computers, but also out of curiosity to see for himself how this web-based key works.

Botanical Society members at the recent Coprosma workshop held in the SeniorNet Learning Centre.
Botanical Society members at the recent Coprosma workshop
held in the SeniorNet Learning Centre.

A senior botanist gave an introduction on how to use the key. In general terms identification is made by keying in various characters of the Coprosma species in hand, usually starting with a precise feature such as the leaf measurements. There are many photos of each of the species available in the program, including fruit and flowers. There are also very clear written descriptions of the special features of the Coprosma species. Apart from a computer connected to the Internet, the most important tools required are a hand lens and a ruler. Then, for hands on practice, a selection of fresh specimens of several species of Coprosma was available for members to choose from. All agreed it was much more fun than trying to make the identification from a book, though not always straightforward as some of the plant features were quite subtle.

SeniorNet members with a botanical interest in our New Zealand native plants might like to have a play with the key at: this webpage.

Good luck!


Computer Lessons a Real God-send

Olga Fleming

By Olga Fleming

When I went along to the first meeting of SeniorNet at Wintec, Te Kuiti, in May 2001, there were four other people I knew so I decided to join. The age limit was 55 and over and as I was so much older I thought I had a bit of a cheek going.

With my slight defect in hearing I could not always understand what our tutor was saying, but he being a great mime actor would go through the actions so we could understand what it was all about. It was hilarious, but also on my part and that of some others, very hard to get to grips with. We would go up to the tea-room to have our cuppa, all red-faced, nervous and moaning: 'I will never get the hang of this.' I could never have imagined then what I have achieved over the last 10 years.

It was not long before we had our own computers, we had really caught the bug. We then learned about E-mail and were able to keep in contact with each other.

When my husband passed away 12 years ago, I didn't know how I was going to fill in my time, even though I was still running a small business on my own, so the computer lessons were a real God-send to me. I love going to my class and have made wonderful friends there; the companionship has been just so marvellous. Also, I have always had a thirst for knowledge so any courses that were offered, I was a starter. I have gained Certificates in Achievement as follows:-

Grammar on Line
The Dollars and Sense in Writing 2003
Art of Card Making and Essay Writing
Introduction to Digital Camera 2006
Introduction to Digital Scrap-booking 2007
Certificate in Computer Applications (Level 2) 2007
Certificate in Information Communication Technology (Level 3) 2011

I am very grateful to our tutors, Josh and Elsie, all the Staff and Wintec for giving me this wonderful opportunity. It has really turned my life around.


SeniorNet has enriched my life

By Noeline Taylor

Noeline TaylorJoin SeniorNet at least that is what the article said. As a rather inexperienced user of the computer these words caught my eye. Bravely I rang the number given and was immediately asked if I would like to tutor. Panic!! However this was soon sorted out and I attended the next meeting.

It wasn't long before I found myself in a class for using the word processor, and, after eight lessons I felt competent enough to agree to be an assistant tutor. Oh what a learning curve that was! There is no better way to learn a program than to assist in teaching it. Gradually I gained in confidence until I felt, able after the first year, to become the lead tutor in the course. I continued in this way, for about another year until I was an experienced SeniorNet tutor.

SeniorNet of course does not only teach wordprocessing, and I signed up for and undertook other courses such as file and folder management, spreadsheets (at which I was no good at all) Using the Internet and Using a Genealogy program. As I was a hobby genealogist I found this latter course of great assistance and have now graduated to teaching it at SeniorNet. Other courses that were available and caught my attention and attendance were photography and graphics. I am not gifted at either of these but I did enjoy them.

Our local branch of SeniorNet frequently does tutorials on subjects of interest to its members. Usually these subjects do not warrant a course as a demonstration of how to do the various things covered is of assistance to members, eg How to use Google, WinZip, Voice Recognition, Facebook and even How to text on your cellphone.

Every month, we have a meeting for all members of our branch. This allows the members to meet and mix and allows the committee to inform us of matters concerning the club. We have very interesting guest speakers and often a short address by one of the club members on something that is of interest to them. Many members take the opportunity to lunch together after the meeting is over. It is fun.

SeniorNet has enriched my life, enlarged my circle of friends and allowed me to help others. I just cannot wait to see what exciting subjects they will offer us in the future.


SeniorNet Horowhenua hosts Scaredy Cats

A very sharp lady from the Waiopehu Women's Institure Travel Section (age 92) phoned me to see if we could come and speak to her group about computers as their families were bullying them to 'get with it' and most were scaredy cats about technology. She said there were about 12 of them - so instead we invited them to bring their questions to our classroom on their meeting day (during our holiday break) and have a session where they could ask questions and see what we do and even have a bit of hands-on to at it.

SeniorNet Horowhenua hosts Scaredy Cats Our chairman, Errol, welcomed the group and 5 other tutors came to assist and instead of 12 - 15 ladies showed up. After being assured that the only stupid question was the one that didn't get asked, the ladies pitched in. We had a couple of PowerPoint presentations ready for them as well. It was a lively and very enjoyable afternoon.

4 signed up for classes on the day (including the 92 year old organizer) and they begin Intro the first week of the new term. We had a pack of info for each which gave them information about the approximate 'entry cost' of getting a computer to get going, the brochure about our Learning Centre, some basic facts about terms they had asked about prior to the session.

As the icing on the cake, Alan took some digital photos of the tutors working among the group during the 'Hands-on' with Solitaire, Paint and WordPad. He then plugged the camera into a computer, downloaded the photos which we put into a Word doco and printed out copies for the group to show how quick and direct it could be.

When they left, everyone, including the tutors said how much fun they'd had. We are looking forward to a few more following up by getting computers and coming to join us shortly.


SeniorNet the way to go

You're never too old to learn how to use a computer, according to 91 year old Margaret Champan and 89 year old Dave Holwell....

Read the full article here


Petera Kamira - 2011

Petera Kamira We Tutors at SeniorNet Kaitaia first met Petera on the 15th February 2011, our Open Day. He had telephoned earlier, and we assured him that he would able to "Fit through the Door", however he sat in the doorway, watching, listening, and deciding that our Learning Centre would suit him very well.

Petera told us that he had had to shift into Kaitaia from the Mitimiti region (North Hokianga) as he was using dialysis, and seeing he was in Kaitaia, he thought he would make the most of his time by learning how to use his computer. He came well equipped with a cell phone in order that his wife could pick him up when he was ready. (In fact Petera is the only member who has asked us if we know anything about android 'phones! Obviously, he pays attention to advertising) Also, on his lap was his laptop - a fairly old XP with a 40 GB hard drive and 225 RAM.

Petera took to learning like a duck to water. Obviously the XP belonged to a Maori Trust, but this had not stopped his children downloading all the whanau photos. I did suggest to him at one stage that if the Trust wanted another computer he should get the new one, leaving the old PC for another Trust member, as he really did deserve a much faster moving PC. Of course, we have had to teach him how to create folders for storage, sort out emails and save email contents to documents etc. This meant that all we tutors from time to time have been very lenient and taken an interest in Petara getting the best out of his computer as well getting on with the courses enrolled in.

We met, and liked and admired, Petera's wife, too, but it was only later I realised why she was always literally on the run - her mother, suffering from Alzheimer's, needed to be left alone for the shortest possible time. Thus, wife would jump out of the car, load Petera onto his wheel chair, whip him inside to the table we had allocated to him, receive a loving kiss from him and run out again. Petera soon recognised that he would be making life easier for his wife if he did not receive a 'lift' from her. and asked if we would be able to accommodate his disability scooter in the premises as this would mean he could 'bike' down except for rainy days.

What a good eye Petera has for measurements - he said he was sure he could fit through door - and he did! This we mentioned at out following meeting and our Treasurer immediately offered her husband's expertise to build a little ramp to make the entry smoother. Not a big ramp, we are at ground level - but it's not that easy to negotiate even little steps, and we jumped at the offer.

You've guessed it - our charmer, Petera, cannot walk - would like to, but probably wont. Look at the pictures, and you will see his other asset - he's a wonderful, happy person. What a delight it is to be tutoring Petara, and to have enabled him to negotiate our doorway easily.


SeniorNet Mac. Christchurch

By Margaret Hatton

The good news is that since Friday 1st April, SeniorNet Mac has been up and running. thanks to the generosity of our treasurer Margaret Harvey.

Our Learning Centre is situated in the pool house at the Cranmer Centre [Old Christchurch Girl's High campus.]

Christchurch Earthquake 2010This solid concrete block edifice, built in the middle of last century, has withstood all the quakes while the old brick building, which up until then had been going to be repaired, was severely damaged on February 22nd and has now been demolished. Diagonally opposite the Art Gallery we have been in the 'Red Zone,' and are not allowed to use the rooms or go onto the site.

Christchurch EarthquakeChrist College, our landlord, have said we might get back into the building sometime in July but that was too long to have people waiting to learn the skills they needed to operate their Macs optimally. So Margaret with the help of Allan Rutherford [Canterbury's rep on The SeniorNet Federation,] managed to access the building and rescue much of our equipment and our teaching notes.

Seniornet Mac, ChristchurchWe have a suite of computers, which students use to do courses and workshops, all in Margaret's living room! Set up on trestle tables the computers are moved to suit the needs of the group. They have to be packed away for other activities such as committee meetings!


Seniornet in Christchurch improvisesFriday mornings are always busy with people coming to Margaret's home to have problems solved, update software, fix hardware or enrol. Sometimes there is an overflow and laptops are used on the kitchen bench.

As well some tutors have opened their homes to students and classes have been run all over the city, in Mt Pleasant,Seniornet Mac's new normal Sreydon, Parklands and Riccarton for example. Enabling students to bring their laptops has made this easier in small spaces. Power cuts, shonky roads, and students who get lost notwithstanding it is great that we have new members enrolling and students continuing to learn. In the current environment of Christchurch's 'New Normal' this has proved an invaluable opportunity for tutors and students alike.

Thank-you Margaret.

Photos by Margaret Hatton and Allan Rutherford


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