Be Connected | Digital Mentoring | Our projects

Learning digital skills for life

Four stories show how Be Connected is positively impacting Digital Mentors and learners.

By Good Things Foundation Australia · 19/07/2021

The Be Connected evaluation shows that investing in digital skills programs for over 50s works – improving operational digital skills, social interactions, and confidence in learners. But what does that look like on the ground?

Learners and Digital Mentors from our Network Partners across Melbourne share how Be Connected has made a difference in their everyday lives in our video case studies below. You can find more video stories from our Network on YouTube.

Digital Mentors Elizabeth Shen (Culture Connect Chinese Australia Brighton Beach Inc.) and Christina Ntaliani (Education Center Victoria) explain how they are helping over-50s from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to improve their digital skills and social connections through Be Connected.

ELIZABETH: My name’s Elizabeth. I’m a Digital Mentor from Culture Connect Chinese Australia Brighton Beach Inc, located in Melbourne. I’ve been helping Chinese community digital skills through Mandarin and also English at the same time.

CHRISTINA: I’m Christina Ntaliani, I work for Education Center Victoria.
I was born in Australia, I grew up in Greece, I spend my life between the two countries. And now I partnership with Be Connected to help elderly Greek Australians to learn about their mobile phone, laptops, tablets.

CHRISTINA: I would like to help Greek Australian to learn about technology and when I search in the internet to find resources for my lessons, I find Be Connected. Be Connected have everything, and it’s very helpful for people who really like to learn.

CHRISTINA: I will recommend the program to the Greek community, because from my experience its really helpful and not only about, because they learn technology, but also because they meet each other, they can, they can make more friends, they start to learn Facebook and already have ten friends from the group. And this is really good for them to stop to be isolated, this is really important for elderly people.

ELIZABETH: I can see the Chinese community are very excited and happy to learn digital skills. They couldn’t even believe they’re older age and learn digital skills. That is unbelievable.

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Elizabeth and Christina explain how Be Connected has boosted the confidence and digital skills of their learners in the Chinese and Greek communities.

ELIZABETH: My name’s Elizabeth, I’m a Digital Mentor from Culture Connect Chinese Australia Brighton Beach Inc, located in Melbourne. I’ve been supporting Chinese community to learn digital skills and to do shopping, and chatting with friends around the world online. During lockdown, people learned the digital skills they be able to watch me online to learn how to make delicious, healthy dumpling.

CHRISTINA: I’m Christina Ntaliani, I work for Education Center Victoria. And now I partnership with Be Connected to help elderly Greek Australians to learn about their mobile phone, laptops, tablets, whatever. We start with very basic because most people don’t even know how to make a call from mobile phones. So we start from basic. They learn how to use their mobile phone. How to make video calls. How to use internet, YouTube, and if there are a little more advanced.

ELIZABETH: Be Connected program give the Chinese community amazing benefits. For example, they are so excited to learn digital skills to get online to search recipes and how to look after their body, and all of the skills they really never thought they could do in the past.

CHRISTINA: If they really use technology when we finish, they can do everyday, something different, you know. They can find something interesting in internet. And do something different, play games, communicate with other peoples, learn something new, learn a hobby that they never have time to do it. Even to learn English, why not. If they want they can find it through internet and do it.

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Learners Jan Coleman and Ann Trieser discovered the possibilities of technology and how to get more out of life with digital thanks to the supportive environment and easy-to-understand Be Connected classes at their respective Network Partners, Family Life and Stay in Touch.

ANN: My name is Ann Tresier, I live in Melbourne. I’ve been here for 24 years from South Africa. We have three daughters and nine grandchildren.

ANN: I decided to join the Be Connected program, because during COVID I was alone at home as my husband was at work. And it was something that I could use, and learn and it filled my day. Technology, which I was never so much aware of, has certainly impacted on my life. And it’s made a huge difference that I am now aware of so many different avenues that I can explore and use.

JAN: Hi, I’m Jan and I found out through Family Life that they were running the Be Connected program, and I thought I would attend and see how I go. Well it was the perfect opportunity when the Be Connected program was run through Family Life, in that I learnt about going online, how to find information via Google, and also how to use YouTube, that I didn’t know anything about and other things, that I was able to use during COVID.

JAN: I got a lot of support from doing this program, because the facilitator explained it all in lay terms that I could actually understand. It was great. I would absolutely recommend that everybody use Be Connected, specially for perhaps the generation that’s a bit older. And, that if they want to learn, because it’s so easy to attend and listen to.

ANN: It has made me more aware of technology and I have certainly imparted this along to my husband and friends as well. It has made a huge difference to me with all the learning that I have experienced and the knowledge that I’ve gained has, I’ll carry this on in my life forever.

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Connecting with essential services and others has been especially hard over the past year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Jan and Ann used the digital skills they learnt through the Be Connected program to combat isolation, continue activities like banking, and stay in touch with family and friends interstate and overseas.

ANN: My name is Ann Tresier, I live in Melbourne. I’ve been here for 24 years from South Africa. We have three daughters and nine grandchildren. Through the program I have learned many skills, and it’s been fantastic to use them as I was alone. Zoom, internet banking, shopping online, Facebook.

ANN: Well via Zoom we were able to meet, in inverted commas, with our family in Sydney who we’re totally cut off from, and it was very exciting to see our daughter and the children popping in and out of the screen, and it made life much more bearable. It was very important because Passover, we always get together as a family every single year. And it was very lonely for us, but having met them prior to our Passover ceremony, it certainly made it more bearable, and the three daughters and myself swapped recipes before, so that we all did the same traditional food that we would always have together.

JAN: Hi, I’m Jan and I found out through Family Life that they were running the Be Connected program and I thought I would attend and see how I go. What I really liked about doing the program, Be Connected, was firstly, I could understand what my children were talking about and I could join in with the conversation. And secondly, I got a lot of support from doing this program because the facilitator explained it all in lay terms that I could actually understand. It was great.

JAN: And it really, really helped me get in touch with my family in England, in Holland, all over the world. So that’s the extra, sort of, um, attraction for being part of that program.

ANN: Be Connected is an amazing learning program and Stay In Touch every Tuesday gave me certainly a lift to meet with others and see how others were during COVID, and every week one got a tip, which was just amazing. It has made a huge difference to me with all the learning that I have experienced and the knowledge that I’ve gained has, I’ll carry this on in my life forever.

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