Every couple of months, we have the special opportunity to celebrate senior learners who complete the iPad Training Program at the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI). These virtual graduation ceremonies celebrate an enormous accomplishment for participants. Many of the learners lacked any prior experience with technology. By the end of the courses, they can freely use their iPad tablets with curiosity and confidence!
CEI hosted the most recent graduation over Zoom on August 31. This particular ceremony was unique as it included our first round of in-person class learners, along with our remote-based learners. It was also the largest graduation yet, with 18 senior learner graduates!
While these celebrations signify the completion of the training lessons, they also represent a beginning. Learners can now integrate their new digital skills into their daily lives and explore their interests independently. Throughout the virtual event, learners shared anecdotes about their experience in the class, what they enjoy doing with their iPad, and how grateful they were for their supportive instructors.
Here is some of the feedback we received from CEI senior learners:
- “I have a sister who has stage four cancer. Now I’ll be able to Zoom with her. I’m very happy about that. Because with the virus and all, you can’t go around her. That’s really difficult and hurtful. Now that I will be able to see her, it is wonderful.”
- “Before this, I was illiterate with computers. I looked at this thing and said, oh I can’t do this. I can’t do any of this stuff. Now look at me, I’m pushing buttons and actually making it work. That’s an accomplishment.”
- “The experience has been rewarding. I’m excited about being able to communicate with my family and also with the internet and with others around the world.”
- “It’s been a great experience. It’s awesome. I do online shopping, word puzzles, and play dominoes.”
- “I’ve never finished anything in my life. For me, this is a whole new experience! If you saw the computers when I was in college and high school, it’s the blind printer … and that’s as big as a Volkswagen! I never thought we’d get this far. I’m fascinated by all the things you can do with the internet, like Facebook and getting to know your friends and actually talking to them.”
- “I was able to do courses to brush up on my English and writing skills. I love playing solitaire. I take pictures. It’s been really helpful.”
- “Thank you for the excellent teaching. We are so glad we graduated, but we want to learn more!”
- “I am a manual user, and this is one of the best. This instruction manual was super, super, super. I don’t think there’s a better manual out there anywhere. We appreciate you and the staff and all the work you put into making this program possible for us. And for being so kind, so supportive, and so creative in your efforts. Thank you so very much.”
As the learners’ feedback makes clear, digital literacy truly has the potential to transform lives. We are grateful for CEI’s collaborative efforts to expand digital inclusion to older adults throughout San Francisco. And we are excited for the many new learners and classes to come!