Your stories

Lorna Murray

Lancelin Community Resource Centre

Computer, youth and seniors need not be an oxymoron!


In a world where technology is not just making huge strides but is breaking the Olympic long jump record, many believe that the communication gap between generations is also growing at a comparable rate. Here at the Lancelin Community Resource Centre, we have found an opportunity for youth to share their knowledge and skills and for seniors to reconnect with youth, which can lessen that generational gap.

Today’s young generation may not have a silver spoon in their mouths but they are born with an iPhone locked in their fingers. This is their world – full of technology, apps and social networking. They live in a world that is so interconnected that what happens in China at 12.05 am is on the Internet by 12.06 am, and being watched by millions around the world.

Young people minds have become attuned to instant reports and worldwide friends. Oh how wonderful I hear you say! But with this speed of connection comes the loss of interpersonal communication. Seniors have a wealth of experience, personal, human connections and skills that have with stood the test of time. Lancelin CRC quickly realised the advantage of bringing together these two generations. One sharing the technical skills of their generation; the other bringing their wealth of experience.

The result: a young trainer who’s interpersonal skills and confidence has grown – a senior who’s technical skills and confidence in social networking has grown

Lancelin CRC has a range of seniors that regularly use our computers. From travellers who drop in to email family back home, to those whose family are now scatter across the world. They email, Skype, surf the Net and use Facebook. To be able to provide this free service to seniors, means contact with family and friends is always only a key stroke away – sending, love, joy and peace of mind across the airways. And what do we at Lancelin CRC get, a warm smile and a grateful thanks – what more could anyone ask for?

Ian Hall

Loddon Campaspe Multicultural Services / Bendigo Access Employment / Inglewood District Health Services


Ian has been a broadband for seniors powerhouse tutor for 3 years out of Bendigo region of Victoria. He works voluntarily for 3 organisation at the present time and is passionate about tutoring. Ian is an excellent life long learner and he delivers his session with a bit of fun to engage his learners. His main focus is to offer what the learner wants and is flexible to their needs. Ian has a background as a primary school teacher in WA and Vic a life essentials coach, Information technology trainer and laughter yoga instructor.

He has worked with students with dyslexia (SPELD) and gifted students. Ian enjoys participating and facilitating in the webinars and is a great knowledge and information sharer. He has an extended network and belongs to a number of community's of practice such as the learning skills group, CEET Ning , itango project and training magazine network this ensures he is kept up to date with current trends and information.

One of Ian specialty is mind mapping and has taught many people how to use them for everyday life, planning and sharing information and interviews He is a frequent user of Facebook and Twitter and often is the first to spread the word about new tools and programs. Ian's e-portfolio has been featured in training sessions across Australia as an excellent example of how an e-portfolio can be developed and kept current. He is a challenge mentor for the Epcop MOOC. Ian is a valued volunteer tutor for broadband for seniors and an excellent role model.

Frank R Wykman

Strath-Haven Uniting Aged Care a 94 bed residency in Bendigo Victoria

Frank is the BFS kiosk volunteer at this very busy care centre in Bendigo where he has been volunteering this year, so is quite new at the job role but finds it extremely fulfilling. His passion for all things IT stems from the many years being a process control engineer in the oil and gas industry in South East Asia where he spends a portion of the year where he spends time in Thailand teaching at small schools.

Frank has an interest in all things e and is an IPad fan and attends technology confrences throughout the world to stay informed with trending technologies. Frank is retired but finds his life very busy and is thrilled to be a volunteer for the Strathhaven Broadband for Seniors Kiosk.

John Mason

Blackall Range Care Group

Our kiosk in the beautiful Sunshine Coast Hinterland has just two tutors – myself and Kathy. Kathy has returned to the USA until September. We are both in our early 60s. Our students range from 65 to 94, with very few failures. Just two that I can think of, one with major vision problems the other with dementia.

BarbarWinter-1.jpgWe have taught way beyond the standard NEC KP learner module. We've taught Outlook, Skype, PowerPoint, Photoshop, Picasa, Spreadsheets, Google Products, Blogging and Facebook. We've also developed our own training module for understanding the computer filing system.

One of our students, a delightful lady by the name of Barbara (86 years old), is now a daily user of Facebook – sells things on Gum Tree and shops online. She loves games on Facebook. She has major mobility problems so Facebook has become very important to her. Such that when she couldn't login to Facebook recently she was in tears, she couldn't play City Ville or be in touch with her great grandchildren in the UK. After a brief investigation of her laptop, I found the problem resulting in more tears this time of joy. Barbara is now going to start her own blog to share her philosophies.

Another lady 84 is now a keen fan of YouTube, using it for water colour and acrylic painting lessons. Yet another lady has used YouTube for dance lessons. Our kiosk is well equipped, with a scanner, printer, projector (available) a spare laptop with XP on it, spare mouse for laptops, WiFi modem plus two extra cables from the modem.

John Mason

Willoughby City Council BFS Kiosk

The Willoughby City Council kiosk is located amid the energy and activity of the local Community Centre. Its immediate proximity to the cafe ensures a flow of eager participants and the kiosk is blessed with a diversity of tutors, from 17 to 82 year olds and English and ESL speakers.

Yu Jeen Jung is a fairly recent arrival from Korea and an IT teacher in her home country. She's pictured here with Pat and Anne Hanrahan who were delving into the finer details of gmail. The wonderful thing about this partnership are that the benefits flow both ways. Pat and Anne benefit from Yu Jeen's computer expertise and she gains skills in English and knowledge of Australian culture. It's a great reminder that we, as teachers and tutors, never stop learning!

Keith Harvey

Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre BFS Kiosk

Woodrising is a suburb of Toronto on Lake Macquarie in NSW (just south of Newcastle). The Woodrising Neighbourhood Centre has a very keen management who are always looking for opportunities to help the community. Once we started regular BFS training and demonstrated a commitment to it they were quick to buy extra laptops and desks and upgrade their internet connection. We also encourage seniors to bring in their own laptops

Before getting really stuck into providing BFS tuition, the co tutor Jan Daniels and myself had tried several attempts at classroom training of seniors about basic computers. We tried every thing we could think of but just couldn't get classroom tuition to work well with seniors. So we swung over to BFS type training and the reactions from seniors was immediate that this was so much better than the classroom approach. Obstacles in classroom training of newbies were hearing, the new terminology, little if any typing skills, dexterity issues, confusion over slight differences between the PC's they were learning on.

We give our BFS training in 8 week blocks with a senior being rostered to a 1.5 hr session each week for the 8 weeks. We give them a 'competency list' of what we consider to be the basic skills we would like to see them achieve. Although its getting out of date, we get them all to do the online tutorial provided by the NEC KP learner module as they can proceed at their own pace and repeat it as often as they like in their own home. At the end of the 8 weeks we find that many would like another 8 week block and, so long as we don't have a backlog of people who haven't had any tuition, we do our best to accommodate them. For some its to learn more than just the basics and for others they enjoy the social inclusion.

Once people have the basics of sending emails, Googling and manipulating windows then classroom type training works well. In 2012 we were able to offer those seniors wanting to learn even more Certificate 1 in Information Technology and we have recently been able to offer Tech Savvy Seniors courses (a NSW Government initiative). These have both gone over well and we are looking forward to repeating this in 2013. Once word started to spread about the tuition then we have had no trouble getting students. All we ask for is a gold coin donation towards the running of the Neighbourhood Centre and all are very happy to pay that with some even chipping in more. As the need arises we also supply printed handouts on other topics they want to learn. Keith is also a keen supporter of Blackboard Collaborate as a training delivery method.

BFS radio interviews

  • ABC Bush Telegraph radio interview with Sally Thompson ALA and senior Barbara Mason during Adult Learners Week

  • Learning Works PBA FM interview with Ron Anderson (ALA) at The Lyceum Club, April 2011.
  • Learning Works PBA FM interview with Sue Shuttleworth at Pineview Village, April 2011.

BFS photo gallery

ALA's Flickr BFS photo gallery

Stories of learning engagement

We'd love volunteers to share their stories of learner engagement here.

Fiona Blake – Tutor WA

'I just wanted to share with you all a brief sketch of one of our kiosk students, who is highly trained in life coaching and healing skills who came to us with typing skills only and no knowledge of computers at all. In 7 weeks she has the where with-all to start her own business from home and she says learning at the kiosk has changed her life. She is saving up for a laptop.

'One lady has emailed her daughter for the first time after I took the advice of Keith and Bruce to play around with a pre-set up Gmail account to familiarise them to the idea of email then set up their own account to use on their own. The success goes on and you just get caught up in their excitement of it all.'

Keith Harvey – Muswellbrook Seniors Computer Club – talks about his experience with a particular senior

'We recently gave BFS training to a 92 year old with substantial seeing and hearing difficulties and short-term memory issues. Keen as mustard and enthusiastic, like many of that vintage, he had never used a computer or keyboard and he struggled many weeks at just learning to play Solitaire. Fortunately he has a grand daughter who also gave him help. Together we've got him up to sending emails. I thought you might all get a smile from this one he just sent me:

"I am trying to get in touch with you but you're very hard to get in touch with. I think I have lost my way but I am still trying. I will be glad when I go to pre school when I turn five." His sense of humor and keenness to learn is still there despite all his frustrations.

Webinar experience


I have just participated in my first Webinar. The process was easy and the content was valuable. It was a reminder of how nervous and excited the learners must feel when they approach their Kiosk for the first time. I felt it today.

Thank you to all concerned.


I wish all computer courses were as good as this.

Thank you!

Volunteer management

Rae came over as a good communicator and very accepting of our comments.

Cyber safety

Keith is a very good speaker, and very knowledgable, perfect for this role. Like his documents and contribution thru google groups.


I thoroughly enjoyed the Webinar - Connecting-On-The-Go last Friday. Very interesting, and nice to discover that there are many more
people out there like me asking very similar questions.


Thanks for organising the ‘Connecting on-the-go with mobile and tablet technology’ webinar. It was an interesting experience as well as informative.