Want FREE Internet Classes? Just Google it.

Has your daughter bought shoes online? Does your son look up the football scores on the Internet?
Do you want to learn how to do this yourself? Then Google’s Age Engage Program is your go-to friend for this opportunity. They are offering free classes to people over 50.

Age Engage will show you how the Internet can add to your life. Google is a global blue chip company who provide Internet-related products and services, so they offer you the finest of trainers and computers. Google launched the Age Engage Program this year and they are running free Internet classes for beginners and intermediates in Ringsend and Irishtown. When we visited the beginners class, both the students and trainers were all local residents.

Besides being free, there are lots of other advantages to the classes. They are fun and are held in a safe environment. You will have your own tutor on a one-to-one basis but you will also get to meet others in the class and make new friends. You can bring your own laptop to use, if you have one, because it will make it easier for you to use when you get home. If you do not have a computer, Google will happily supply one for you.

Age Engage teaches you what you want to learn. When we were at the class, the ladies were booking flights to New York and the gents were researching their family tree. Your classes will not follow a strict syllabus, which is usually the case when you attend a course. Your trainer will champion your interests. Compare it to driving lessons…your trainer will show you how to get to where you want to go. They will not bore you with all the details that make the engine work. Your trainer will also ask what you are not interested in, so that you will always find the classes enjoyable and useful.

Beginners Class
Even if you have never touched a computer before, there are classes to introduce you to the basics, such as switching a computer on and off, and how to get to the Internet. This is a six-week course. The classes are run in different locations, such as Cambridge Court off Thorncastle Street, Google’s offices or your local library. If you have a favourite café you like to visit, once it has Wi-Fi access, you can have your one-to-one class there.

Intermediate Class
The intermediate classes can help you increase your knowledge if you already have some Internet experience. For example, you may know how to email your family in London, but you would like to start using Skype to talk to them because it is free. Usually the intermediate classes are held in the Google Buildings on Barrow St. Our visit there was a unique experience. They have super snazzy furniture and a very plush setting so attending classes in their offices will be a treat indeed.

Train-the-Trainer Course
When you are a whizz on the computer or have done the intermediate classes, you can advance onto the Train-the Trainer course. Google’s Age Engage program will guide you on how to teach the Internet to others.

Get Your Folks Online
If you know someone who would be interested in taking part you can show them a video on YouTube which explains all about it. To view the clip just type in ‘Age Engage Full Length’. Additionally, Google and Age Action, together, have created a fantastic website called getyourfolksonline. It lays out advice and steps on how to introduce someone to the Internet.

Google’s plan for Age Engage is to roll the classes out to other communities in Dublin and all around the country. Their aim is to increase Internet literacy in people who are over 50 by showing how the Internet can make things easier.

Freephone: 1800806570
E-mail: SocialActionDublin@google.com
Google and Age Action: www.getyourfolksonline.ie

By Tracy O’Brien