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SeniorNet Success Stories

You are never too old to learn

Mrs Doris WilliamsonPictured is Mrs Doris Williamson from Toko, who at the age of 91, is currently learning computing at SeniorNet Stratford.

Mrs Williamson was a librarian at the National Library in Wellington for twenty years. In 1984, she retired to Newtown, and in the late 1990's, moved to Toko to be near to her family.At the age of 91, she decided to learn to use a computer "to keep up with the rest of the family." She came to SeniorNet Stratford in February 2011, and completed the Introduction to computers course in Term 1. Currently, at the end of Term2, she has nearly completed the Communications course, and her Tutor has remarked that she is doing very well.

Mrs Williamson intends to do another course in the near future and is an inspiration to us all. She really does prove "That you are never too old to learn."

Horowhenua SeniorNet Success Story

My wife has been unwell for some time which is not unusual for us all as we get older.

Her condition now confines her to bed which makes it more difficult for her to keep in touch with family events and celebrations.

I try to keep her up to date with photos which I can take in to the nursing home on my regular visits, and I had this idea to get hold of one of those new automatic display frames which play a constant show of family photos.

I joined the SeniorNet digital camera class to help me to download my pics on to a memory stick which I can plug directly into the display. Wow this worked brilliantly.

It has been a sadness for us for quite a few years that our grand daughter has settled overseas with her mother and has made a break with the family which seems too difficult to reconcile. Contact with her growing up has not been possible, but I was surprised to find some pictures of her on the Internet. Unfortunately though, my computer skills were too poor to enable me to share these with my wife.

What has been absolutely brilliant has been to find out through the SeniorNet Digital Camera class how I could copy these photos of my grand daughter also onto the memory stick to share with my wife. You can imagine how wonderful this has been for her.

SeniorNet Kaitaia fighting against the odds

Patricia BlakeleySeniorNet Kaitaia, one of the Federation’s smaller Learning Centres, tells the following story of strength and perseverance, of determination to fight against the odds, Patricia’s story. This is the story not forgotten by the present tutors and assistants at SeniorNet Kaitaia:

Patricia Blakeley first attended our Open Day in 2009. She lives at Kohukohu and attended classes every Friday morning, leaving home at an early hour to travel the 75 km’s to Kaitaia. When she joined, Patricia’s husband had recently died and she was running their farm on her own, soon realising how helpful it would be if she could use a computer. Although very nervous at first Patricia was also very determined, and slowly gained confidence, thus in mid-2010 she invested in a new computer, and soon mastered Windows 7. She has no children of her own, but many friends around the world and being able to be in touch with them, through e-mail was a great thrill for her.

Patricia did start computer classes again with us this year, but because of a back problem has not been able to attend. However, she does assure us her computer is being put to good use keeping records of her animals and farming procedures, as well as keeping in touch with friends. Also, Patricia did comment last year, how her computer had become her companion in the evenings, which are her loneliest times since her husband died.

SeniorNet Nelson now has a Technical Interest Group

SeniorNet NelsonNelson is fortunate in that incoming President, Lindsay Hunter, is also a technical wizard, along with our Life Member and maintenance manager Graeme Valpy. Having established that there was interest from some members in gaining more knowledge of the inner working of computers, a Technical Interest Group (TIG) has been formed. Meetings are held monthly and since the inaugural meeting in February numbers have steadily increased, with 16 present in May. Topics covered so far have included how to change ar add a hard drive, replacing the CMOS battery, what the BIOS does and how to make changes to settings, along with general tips for investigating computer hardware problems. Members are encouraged to lead discussion on any problem they have encountered, so that jointly we can find a solution.

Using old donated computers we plan to learn how to reformat a hard drive and install the open source Linux operating system. The expected spin-off from the group is to have a core of knowledgeable members able to assist with ongoing maintenance of our Learning Centre computers. The future looks bright.

Coromandel Senior Net

With a low population density in the western top half of the Coromandel Peninsula, Senior Net members are widely scattered and access to commercial computer support services can be either difficult or expensive to obtain. This applies to both hardware and software issues.

Because of the difficulties associated with living in a rural area, the tutors offer where appropriate a home visit to problem-solve for members. Typical examples might include a computer running slow, printers stopping working, setting up a camera and Skype, configuring a new bit of software or hardware and so on. Relatively small problems like these examples can become a major issue for members if not addressed in a timely manner and even if commercial help is available, it is likely to be expensive relative to the size of the problem. On most occasions, these issues can be solved at tutor level but if not, they can give advice on how it can be resolved.

Members who avail themselves of this service make a strictly nominal contribution to club funds.

Tricia's Story

By Judy Wane

We know we are a pretty diverse group at SeniorNet Warkworth and this was very well illustrated at the recent Skype workshop when one of our members, who is profoundly deaf, discovered the joy of communicating via Skype's video call feature, using sign language. She was aided and abetted in this by a hearing fellow member, skilled in the use of 'Sign', who, coincidentally, happened to attend the same workshop on that day.

Two computers were set up to enable students to try using Skype's video call feature - our deaf member sat at one whilst the other was manned by our hearing member. After a brief run through the pair were away, using Sign to communicate with each other via Skype, face to face.

As the world of visual communication opened up for her, the look of delight on the face of our profoundly deaf member was memorable, to say the least. And the best part is that now she will be able to communicate visually and 'talk' with her Singapore - based son.

It was a revelation to all of us and really brought home the limitless capabilities of the modern technology and the endless variety of skills and talents that our members bring to our Society.

Big changes at SeniorNet for 2011

SeniorNet WarkworthSeniorNet Warkworth are now set up with the latest technology to use in their teaching workshops. A brand new high spec i7 PC laptop connects to a massive 55 inch TV screen which displays crystal clear pictures in full daylight, and without the need to pull the blinds. We all know as the blinds come down, so do the eyelids, particularly as you get older. So this will be a much improved experience.

To go with the new equipment SeniorNet has revamped the teaching programme with the emphasis on demonstrations and hands on workshops, rather than the traditional 8 lesson courses. New technology, such as Ipads and E-books, will feature in the workshops programme, as well as the old faithfuls like digital cameras, and emails.

But wait there is more! We are now equipped with 4 of the latest Apple Mac computers, for hands on training of those with Macs, and for some with PCs who want to learn about a Mac. In addition we also have the latest Mac Pro which connects to the TV for the use of the demonstrator.

We are much indebted to the Lion Foundation, and to Pub Charities without whose financial help this re-equipping would be impossible.

To find out how you can be part of SeniorNet go to our website at or ring the Course Co-coordinator on 09 422 3728

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