/John Howard Society offers free technology tutoring

John Howard Society offers free technology tutoring

It’s easy to get bewildered by technology whether figuring out how to use a computer downloading a photo from your smartphone or watching an online video.

An upcoming Technology Tutoring session will provide answe rs to many questions including how to protect oneself against identify theft and online scams.

The session held by the John Howard Society of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton and funded by Employment Ontario begins this Friday.

Bob Gaudette the John Howard Society’s skills development co-ordinator who was involved with two tech start-ups in the 1990s said he gets phone calls from his parents who are 70 and 66 with questions about technology on a weekly basis.

“If this is happening in my family then certainly there are people in the community that maybe they don’t have somebody that is accessible to them to just kind of walk them through the basics” he said.

Gaudette said the session can be taken as a one-off for people looking for something specific or as multiple sessions accompanied by a learning plan.

“I really want it to keep it flexible and fluid so it’s relevant to people every time they come in” he said.

The sessions will cater to participants’ needs so they will “bring together a group of individuals from the community and kind of build the curriculum based around what they need the most help with. So it might vary from workshop to workshop and a lot of it will be delivered one-to-one because some people will be coming in and they’re a little more advanced than others” he said.

Gaudette said people are encouraged to bring their curiosity and their smartphones tablets and laptops. There will also be equipment to apply what is learned such as laptops and desktops.

Gaudette said he would even help someone with just setting up an email address.

Technology fosters social connections ensures people remain connected with what is happening provides access to education and engagement with loved ones.

The sessions will help participants learn about the pros and cons of online sharing.

“I think with social media some people don’t realize their information is open to everyone if you don’t adjust your privacy settings. So when you’re communicating with your family and friends and you’re posting a picture of your nephew if you don’t have that information restricted to your immediate group (people that you’ve vetted to see your information) that you’re opening yourself up to identify theft issues … people are more vulnerable than they might suspect when they’re online” he said. “I think to go over the basics: How can I not be afraid of this technology? How can I learn to use it so that I can communicate with family and friends but in a way that’s safe?”

The number of Technology Tutoring sessions will be determined by demand.

“We want to start up and see how well-received it is” he said. “I’m certainly open to dedicating the time to doing it as a weekly event but we’ll really structure that around community response.”

Technology Tutoring takes place Friday Feb. 22 in Minden from 2 to 4 p.m. at Outreach Literacy Minden at 14 IGA Road (the same plaza as Godfather’s Pizza). Gaudette encourages people to pre-register with him at bgaudette@jhscklh.on.ca or at 705-328-0472 ext. 921. However walk-ins are welcome.