Free Digital Workshop Applications Now Being Accepted

For learners 60 and older

Embrace Technology logo and seniors in a photo with a blue backdrop

The Council on Aging (COA) and Athol Public Library (APL) have announced that applications are now being accepted for participation in an upcoming free Digital Workshop. Part of the Embrace Technology grant project, the workshop is open to anyone 60 or older living in Athol or the Quabbin region who is interested in improving their digital skills and online experiences.

The internet is an amazing resource and an important part of daily living, but using digital devices can be confusing and often frustrating. The Digital Workshop classes have been designed with these things in mind. The goal is to teach participants the skills they want and need to improve digital interactions. Everyone who participates in the program will be given a brand-new Apple iPad to use in class and at home. The grant also ensures access to the internet in the participant’s home, either through the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program or the long-term loan of a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The workshop begins on February 3, 2024 and runs through March 23. Classes will be held once a week for 8 Saturdays from 10:00 - 11:30 AM at the Athol Public Library. Each week a different topic will be covered including: Getting to know your iPad, Email, Making the most of the internet, Online banking & cybersecurity, Health online, Social media, Staying in touch, and Entertainment & hobbies. Friendly instructors will share information through conversation, videos and hand-outs. There will be demonstrations and opportunities for independent practice as well as time for questions. There will also be a suggested assignment for the week to practice new skills. Participation in the classes is an opportunity to work with supportive leaders in a welcoming environment to become comfortable with the iPad while learning to navigate the internet with confidence.

In order to provide individual attention, workshop size is limited to 6. Anyone interested in attending must complete an application, available at the COA or APL, and submit it to either location by Thursday, December 28, 2023. Participants will be selected by lottery from qualified applicants.

A total of four Digital Workshops will be offered throughout 2024 and 2025. One-on-one tutoring sessions are currently available at both the Senior Center and the Library, as are short and long-term loans of wifi hotspots. Additional resources including a Technology Help group and pop-up technology help sessions at local senior housing locations are scheduled to launch in the new year. All services are free and available with no financial restrictions or requirements to anyone 60 years of age or older living in Athol and the 9 town Quabbin region.

This project is supported by a grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs (EOEA) to enhance the digital literacy of older adults. This grant draws on funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) intended to strengthen, enhance, and expand Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) in the commonwealth.

For more information on any of the programs or services being offered please contact the Athol Council on Aging, 82 Freedom St., 978-249-8986 or the Athol Public Library, 568 Main St., 978-249-9515.