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SeniorNet aims to end digital divide

SeniorNet, a technology trainer and offline/online community for adults over the age of 50, is offering technology classes to Duluth area seniors in an effort to end the age-related digital divide.

SeniorNet, a technology trainer and offline/online community for adults over the age of 50, is offering technology classes to Duluth area seniors in an effort to end the age-related digital divide.
The San Francisco-based SeniorNet has a local chapter based at Lakeshore Lutheran Home at 3900 London Rd. As part of Lakeshore Lutheran's community outreach program, SeniorNet is making classes available during daytime hours.
"These classes are specifically designed for seniors and taught by seniors in a friendly atmosphere," said Judy Miller, a member of SeniorNet's governing council.
Lakeshore Lutheran gives classroom space, as well as some employee time, to support the effort.
Computer Fundamentals is a beginning level course for those with minimal or no prior computer experience. The tutorial introduces hardware and software, Windows basics and the use of a mouse and keyboard. The class is taught in four weekly two-hour sessions.
Introduction to Computers is a course that provides an introduction to Microsoft Works for Windows. Students learn mouse and keyboard skills, write a letter, print and save it, create and maintain an address book, set up a spreadsheet to track finances, illustrate documents with clip art, send and receive e-mail and use the Internet as a tool. Eight weekly two-hour sessions are included in the course.
Advanced classes for a variety of software programs are in the planning stages now. Other classes that will be developed are Quicken, Family Treemaker, Microsoft Word and advanced classes in database and spreadsheet building.
"If sufficient interest exists in any area, we will create a class for that," Miller said.
All students receive a printed manual and a floppy disc with practice files. Each class is limited to six students and is presented by a trained instructor and two coaches. Open lab times are scheduled for supervised practice sessions.
SeniorNet launched its Bridging the Digital Divide Enrichment Center (http:/ www.seniornet.org/enrich/digital_divide ) as a way to honor America's 76 million older adults.
According to SeniorNet, the majority of the 50-plus population lacks Internet access and trails other age groups in Web use by a factor of two-to-one.
Enrichment center topics include healthy aging, investment education, technology trends, the golden age of entertainment and consumer education.
Founded in 1986, SeniorNet is an international organization that has taught more than 100,000 older adults to use computers and the Internet. With an online community and a network of more than 220 locally run learning centers in the United States staffed by more than 4,500 volunteers, SeniorNet offers both offline and online destinations.
For more information, contact Sue, 728-2406, or Cathy, 525-2576.
Sharon Almirall is a business writer for the Budgeteer News and can be reached at 723-1207 or sharon.
almirall@mx3.com

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