As a blogger, running my own business, I use technology a lot. There isn’t a single day when I don’t use the laptop or my phone, taking photos on a digital camera, transferring files to external hard-drives, faxing documents or creating spreadsheets. And whilst there are days when, admittedly, I long for simpler times, I also know that this is the age we live in and being clued up own digital technology is kind of a must!
It can be incredibly hard, particularly for the older generation, to grasp the concept of digital devices, and I know I am increasingly frustrated by my Dad’s inability to send a text message, or my Mum’s confusion over how to connect their home broadband. And although all devices come with manuals, these can be both extensive and confusing, and leave those who are new to digital technology feeling completely overwhelmed and lacking in confidence.
Thanks to Post Office Broadband, teaming up with Google Digital Garage, there are now free digital training sessions in six cities around the UK for those who need support. And whilst you may think it’s very easy for me to sit here and recommend a service, what if I told you that I personally attended the Leeds session last month, and that the expertise and advice available was second to none?
The event was held in one of the meeting rooms at Leeds Central Library which was easily accessible, incredibly beautiful and hugely welcoming. We were met by the Post Office representative and several members of the Google Digital Garage team, all of whom voiced their passion to close the digital knowledge gap that currently exists in the UK.
The session was in the form of a ticketed drop in clinic with members of the public coming and going, some armed with their devices and others simply wanting to borrow a device to gain advice and experience. With tea, coffee, and plenty of biscuits, it was a very laid back atmosphere and yet the advice given was completely professional.
The thing that surprised me the most was that those who attended were from all ages and all walks of life. From Mum’s returning to work after an extended maternity leave, to members of the older generation wanting to stay in touch with family members who had moved abroad. The truth is, no matter what your age or circumstance, digital technology is central to our lives and far too many of us feel left behind by how quickly it is advancing.
I particularly enjoyed chatting with an elderly gentleman who told me that he was struggling with his new touch screen phone. From talking to him I learned that, having dyslexia, he was finding it hard to follow the instructions on screen when setting up his device, and his biggest concern was that he was “doing it wrong”. I heard that several times during the session from various people who stated they didn’t want to break their device by pressing the wrong thing, or were afraid to make changes to it incase it no longer worked. It was evident to me that one of the biggest issues we are facing is down to a lack of confidence.
The Google experts were amazing and, watching them give advice in a clear and concise manner, I loved how they resolved each persons worries in a way that worked for them. After all, we all learn differently, and we all want different things from our device. I think steering away from a one size fits all mentality is absolutely the best way forward, especially when it comes to technology.
Having attended the session thinking I was pretty clued up, especially about my own smart phone, I came away having learned several things to make my life easier – most of all how to tell my phone where I’ve left my car when I park it. Anyone who knows me will agree that this new information may save me hours of my life trailing through car parks looking for my car!
If you’d like to attend one of the five remaining sessions this year, they are as follows: –
- Southampton – Fri 6th July, 10-1
- Plymouth – Fri 20th July, 10-1
- Cardiff – Fri 3rd August, time TBC
- Norwich – Fri 17th August, 10-1
- Belfast – Fri 31st August, time TBC
You can register for a free ticket here or fill out the form to find out about other digital training events as details become available. Although this still remains a pilot scheme, hopefully by 2019 there will be regular digital training sessions available throughout the UK.
** This is a collaborative post with the Post Office. All words and opinions are my own **