As a part of our partnership with the Center for Elders’ Independence (CEI), CTN instructors have spent the past year working with groups of isolated senior learners on their digital skills via CEI’s iPad training program. Last week, we had the special honor of celebrating the accomplishments of yet another cohort of learners graduating from their eight-week digital literacy course!
The Zoom-style ceremony welcomed 29 guests, including CTN and CEI staff members and 16 new senior learners. Although the event was completely virtual, CEI truly pulled out all the stops. They delivered a package to each graduate containing a mortarboard, a gift box of goodies, a letter of accomplishment, and a “diploma” signed by CEI staff and CTN staff instructor Carlos. The learners will also be receiving their own iPad to keep after graduation and continue working on their digital skills.
After some group discussion about the learner’s experiences with their iPad, CEI’s CEO Maria Zamora officially graduated the class of new learners as the traditional graduation tune Pomp and Circumstance played in the background. Navigating the internet for the first time is no small feat. We are grateful for the efforts CEI made to make these learners feel accomplished in their hard work and success.
Here are a few quotes from students shared during the Zoom ceremony, summing up the older adult learners’ responses to the program:
- I hope the program continues so I can retake the classes — I enjoyed them so much!
- I am grateful that I can learn while staying safe at home.
- This program helped my social isolation. I could stay at home but still be connected to the outside!
- I’m happy that I came to this country because I’ve learned so much. There’s no other place I could go and learn like I can at CEI.
- Carlos was such a helpful teacher.
- Thank you to Carlos and his team for all of their hard work and patience and for getting us through this round of classes.
- I was very happy to join the class. I learned how to join Zoom and use email.
- It was fun and the class was enjoyable.
- I love it. I use my iPad regularly — I’m using it right now!
The California Public Utilities Commission provides funding for this partnership. The pre-COVID training agreement was designed for in-person digital literacy classes, which were modified due to the pandemic. Thanks to our experience and success with Home Connect, we were able to accommodate remote learning for CEI’s learners. The program — kicked off in May of 2020 — has now completed a full year. While our original contract was for two years, new funding will allow CEI to extend the iPad training program for at least three years. Both organizations eagerly await our next cohort!