This all started way back in 2012, when I gave my 80-something mother her first iPhone. It didn’t go so well.
When my mom asked me how to use her new iPhone, I took it from her, offered instructions as I tapped, and handed it back. A few weeks later, I asked why she hadn’t responded to my texts. She stared at me and said, “You went so darn fast last time, I didn’t learn a thing.” Ouch.
So, I went in search of an organization I could trust that would take her from newbie to confident user, and commit to helping her every step of the way. One that didn’t have ads everywhere that would disrupt her learning journey or a website that collected unnecessary data about her.
It didn’t take much searching for reality to hit —there was no such organization. Sure, there were lots of “pieces” out there, but no cohesive program for her follow. Paying a private tutor was expensive and seemed wrong. Digital skills training should not cost an arm and a leg. Aren’t these skills essential today, especially for older adults?
At that point, I’d been a technology entrepreneur for over 25 years. I knew how important it was that my mom become a confident user of her mobile device. I knew that technology would help her remain independent. Digital skills are not nice-to-have’s, they are essential. So, I decided to find a way to make digital skills training for all older adults fun and free.
The family wanted mom to stay connected to her grandchildren and to us. She wanted to be part of the changing world around her, and age in the home she loved. Ensuring she had the digital skills to do that was step one.
Fast forward to today. I am proud to say that all Gluu learning resources are 100% ad-free thanks in part to funding from the Government of Canada Digital Literacy Exchange Program and the generous support from other partners. Gluu has helped over 50,000 seniors take a life-changing digital skills journey across the digital divide. This is what I wanted my mom to have.
Our courses are not a walk through the User Guide—because no one gets inspired doing that! We have created thoughtfully designed and classroom-tested programs proven to get seniors up and running and even having some fun with their technology. We are making it stick.
My mom stayed connected to us in between visits thanks to her digital skills. The grandkids especially loved her texts peppered with just the right emoji. We laughed together as she figured out Siri. We shared photos, stories, and memories with ease. Her digital skills made our family closer. Well done, Mom.
My mom passed away with her children, her iPhone, and Apple Watch by her side. She never really loved her iPad. Can’t win ’em all.
Hope to see you online,