Yk seniors surfing the Net
College teaches seniors computer skills

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 22/99) - Thanks to a free computer skills course, Yellowknife seniors will soon be pointing and clicking, swapping e-mail addresses and talking gigabytes.

Aurora College is offering the computer skills programs in recognition of the fact that 1999 is the International Year of Older Persons.

They have 18 volunteer tutors ready to go and have allocated 15 of the school's computers to do the training.

"We weren't sure what type of response we would get, since we haven't offered anything like this before," said Aurora College program co-ordinator Sharon Morrison.

"However, the reaction from local seniors was overwhelming. I think it shows that the concept of lifelong learning is alive and well in Yellowknife."

The college has already had 38 seniors register for the classes. When Jan Stirling heard about the program, she signed up right away.

"I retired two years ago and I thought then that computers weren't my thing, but now here I am taking computer courses," Stirling said.

"The technology is fantastic. All of my children and grandchildren, even my four-year-old grandson, are using computers. I hope to be able to stay connected to them."

Yellowknife Seniors Society executive director, Martha MacLellan, said they got seniors started on computer training after the Elk's Club and NorthwesTel donated computers and free Internet access to the Baker Centre, last spring.

They now have four computers in the centre being used regularly by seniors, many of whom are in their 80s.

"With Aurora College helping us, we have access to 15 more computers and the tutors necessary to train our seniors," MacLellan said.

"It's the seniors themselves that asked for it. Most wanted to be online and to have the option to e-mail their family members."