Seniors helping seniors use computers and the internet


History of SeniorNet - page 3

The Mall Training Room

As mentioned earlier, a major sponsor was Global Info Links, an ISP created within Ipswich City Council to kick-start internet availability in the area.  In due course the ISP was spun off the council to be taken up as a commercial entity, renamed iTEL, and took up offices in a first floor suite in the Nicholas Street Mall.  Since the suite was over-large for their needs, in 2003 they offered a room rent-free which eventually proved big enough for 16 computers, and included a direct high-speed line to their server.

SeniorNet was delighted to take up this offer, and proceeded to salvage the desks in the room to make up a line of computers.  Eleven computers were offered to us by Ipswich Hospital Foundation, being units which had been retired from the hospital.  These were set up with Windows XP and networked through an iITEL surplus router by a team from the Computing stream at St Edmond's College.

We now needed more trainers and we were lucky enough to obtain a grant to train them.  Some 30 new trainers were inducted through four week courses under the tuition of Rebbecca Matthews then from Protocol I.  Most of these trainers were deployed as assistants or 'Runners' who were tasked with assisting trainees to keep up with the course, while a 'Senior Trainer' was responsible for preparing and presenting the course material using an overhead projector.  Our training approach was (and remains to this day) that the Senior Trainer shows what to do next on the presenter's computer, and this is mirrored on the screen; the trainees then repeat these actions, and the Runners assist those who failed to understand (or shot off on wild exercises of their own choice).

We were also successful in obtaining grants to purchase new computers throughout, together with the aforementioned projector and a colour laser multifunction printer, and our training offerings now expanded to the level that can be seen in our Training pages. We now offered 14 courses (including an 'Introductory' course which remained in the Humanities room) and a wide range of bi-weekly workshop topics which were taught as independent modules.  As a result our membership expanded rapidly to nearly 300.

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