The “New Normal” of Life Online – Be afraid or be confident, the choice is yours

How often do you hear people say things like this?

  • “I don’t mind going on the internet, but I am not banking or shopping online, I am frightened of losing my money.”
  • “I get so much junk and dodgy emails; I am sick of using my tablet.”
  • “I am worried about what my children are doing online, there are so many scary stories.”
  • “I have heard a lot about bullying and hateful things being said on the internet, I don’t want to be exposed to any of it.”

When you are frightened you often can not see the difference between FEAR and RISK. We can all be frightened, and it prevents us looking at the real risk or threat.

To avoid any irrational fear, you need to know whether you really have anything to worry about. How likely can something bad happen? What are the consequences of something bad happening?

In life when we overcome our fear or live through something terrible, we can reflect on this experience and sometime see the positive outcomes. I like to think of this has “the school of hard knocks”.

Since the COVID19 pandemic we have all been forced out of our comfort zone by doing more things online, whether that is work, schooling, meet friends, paying bills, arrange doctor’s appointments, shopping, and entertainment.

Get Technology Together (GTT) with the support of West Yorkshire Police Community Safety Fund has launched “Cybercrime Vigilance”, to help people understand the real threat to citizens living an online life today. GTT has been running community classes and help people get the most out their technology for many years, and has learnt that there are some simple rules to follow when being online that can dramatically reduce your risk to being a victim of crime. GTT is asking for you help to participate in exploring cybercrime threats to develop affordable strategies to help you and your family stay safe online. Please contact GTT if you want more information on how to be involved in “Cybercrime Vigilance”.

Drighlington Digital an Internet Café in your own home

It is a challenge to adjust to social distancing, which has become our “New Normal”, but thankfully technology can provide some solutions.  

Our popular group, Drighlington Digital, runs sessions to help people get the most out of their technology.  Usually they take place at the Methodist Church but at present the group is meeting online.  The group quickly adapted to the daily changes in our lives and started experimenting with online video calling such as Skype, Facetime, and WhatsApp.  The group uses Zoom, an App which was relatively unknown before we had a lockdown, to meet up online every Thursday from 10am to 12pm.  Zoom is easy to use, and many people can join in.

It is a friendly group, and everyone is welcome. To get involved you do need an internet connection in your own home, or enough data on your smartphone.   If you do not have a smartphone, tablet, or a laptop, please contact Get Technology Together on 07754 391498 and they may be able to lend you a laptop!

The group has been sharing tips about online shopping, entertainment, exercise, garden and decorating.  It is also a place to receive help with technical issues like setting up printers and connecting TVs and HiFi systems and even piano lessons!

Please feel free to come and share your technology woes and tips with us online. Everyone learns something new.  If you are concerned about nosey participants checking out your wallpaper or bookshelves you can play with different backgrounds on Zoom and even pretend you are on a sunny beach.

One of regular participants who lives alone said, “Getting familiar with video chatting online has changed my life since the lockdown.  I am in touch with family and friends several times a week”

After a few weeks everyone is relaxed and confident. Chatting online becomes very natural, in fact the “New Normal”.

Drighlington Digital now has a Facebook Page, if you are on Facebook please “Like” our page and find out more.

Using technology to manage a crisis

GTT has been forced to close many Digital Access Points as a result of the public health emergency in the UK. Tutors are working towards providing more support via telephone, email, VoIP, and social media groups. GTT tutors are getting together online to work how send out broadcast online.

Please check the calendar links on the website home page for the latest information about closures. In the meantime feel free to contact GTT via the contact page, telephone or email.

Never to late to wish everyone Happy New Year

It seems a while ago now, but before Christmas I popped into the Richmond Hill Community Centre, to take part in their GTT session.

I found an invaluable community resource helping people to brush up their digital skills, build confidence, meet others and participate in a learning environment.
People came along with different abilities and needs, yet it all seemed to work, and everyone got something from the session.

One person was in the process of learning to video call his overseas relatives using Skype. Another to navigate a new Smartphone and to use text messenger (SMS) for the very first time! More experienced users came along for help with specific issues.

While the session was led by an experienced facilitator what was also evident was the level of informal Peer Support. People with more experience were helping those with less. This is great as it can be empowering for both the learner and the helper.

Feel free to come along to the new drop-in sessions starting running every Monday from 11am to 1pm. Everyone is welcome at the Richmond Hill Community Centre, Long Close Lane, Leeds, LS9 8NP

Article written by GTT Volunteer, Vicky.

Drighlington Digital

The Digital Access Point at Drighlington now enters its enter it’s second year. This year offering technology life skills sessions each week alongside the Digital Access Point. The project has been very popular. GTT is now partnering up with the Drighlington Methodist Church to launch 2 new projects “Staying Well at Winter” and “Stepping Out” both of these project aim to help the local community by bring people together to meet socialise and learn a bit more about how to get the best out of their technology in a friendly comfortable community space.

Anyone can drop-in and bring their own devices or use our laptops to access the free WiFi on site. The Coffee Pot Café is always open when the sessions are running and many people stay afterwards to join in the games session which include cards, darts, table tennis and a quiz every week.

The project has just launched its Drighlington Digital Facebook Page  and you can visit and post messages.

David masters his Apple Mac at Leodis Grid

David, a regular attendee at the weekly drop-in, gave me a big smile, as we started chatting.  He’s been attending the weekly computer sessions at the Lincoln Green Community Centre for around six months.

He came along to the sessions for help to ‘get to know’ his new Apple Mac laptop.  Having previously owned an older Apple computer, he thought it would be similar, but told me “they are as different as me and you!”

He warmly credits the tutors at the centre for their help and tuition. He now feels much more skilled and confident in using his laptop.

He mainly uses it for photography, to edit and save photographs, which is his life-long hobby.  He began taking photos as a teenager with a Box Camera, which had only eight exposures on a film!  He likens this older technology to a Mini whereas, he says, “digital photography is a Rolls Royce.”  In the past he was employed as a wedding photographer. He also enjoyed taking pictures of stamps but says this activity belongs to a bygone era, people aren’t as interested in stamps anymore.   Now his favourite subjects are landscapes, flowers and insects.

Another compelling reason for David to attend the sessions is the sense of community at the centre.  He tells me that it’s a welcoming atmosphere where he’s made friendly acquaintances, is greeted with a cup of tea as soon as he arrives and buys a cheap lunchtime meal.

 

 

David_Work
One of David’s beautiful photographs of Roundhay Park, showing beautiful reflections in the lake,  Thank you David.

 

Giving my old computer some TLC at GTT

“Giving my old computer some TLC” by GTT Volunteer, Vicky.

“With the help of the GTT Lab, I took apart my old computer, retrieved valued photographs and restored it to health!

It had laid abandoned behind the sofa for years – an old desktop with an outdated edition of Windows, gathering dust.

I was helped to repair it myself, this included unscrewing the back, blowing out the dust and ensuring things were able to work. It was the first time I’d ever looked inside a computer and there was a lot of dust in mine! “

Picture inside old dusty computer
Vicky’s old dusty computer

 

“Not only did I repair it, but I came away being able to identify the major parts inside and feeling like I’d learnt something. I truly believe that learning new things is so important for our wellbeing and confidence – at any age. I love the inclusive nature of GTT and their belief that anyone can learn with the right support.

My next mission is to update the operating system – with help of course.

Watch this space!! “

Sorry! Temporary closure Digital Access Temple Lawn

Sorry GTT is temporarily closing the Digital Access Point at Temple Lawn in Rotherwell. Leeds City Council are carrying out planned repairs on the heating system so we the building is closed for a few weeks from 5th to 25th March 2019.

Students and volunteers are welcome to join us at the GTT Lab in Beeston or Cafe at New Wortley Community Centre instead every Friday.

School of Metal Bashers needs your help

The School is a volunteers’ project based at the Beeston Skills Hub, Leeds. In 2016 the charity St. Vincent’s Support Leeds donated equipment to start us off.

Picture shows laptop donations being given to GTT

In 2017 GTT managed to get a small grant from the Leeds Fund #GiveLoveLeeds to develop a free training course to show people how to repair and upgrade their old computers.

Students opened up computers, took bits out, tested and replaced bits, put new software on them and tested them again. Not only did the students love it, the tutors did as well, and so did all our growing list of community partners who help promote the project and help put the word out to businesses to make any donations of redundant equipment.

Some businesses were very generous and we accumulated a lot of good equipment which we have salvaged with help of volunteer engineers.

Generous equipment donations stored at the GTT Lab

The GTT philosophy is to encourage everyone to get involved and participate: you will learn something new. Many of our students and volunteers have achieved a lot by repairing machines, setting up computer classrooms and helping local businesses with their IT problems. It has been a valuable experience where volunteers have shared their knowledge and worked together. Some refurbished computers have been sold on through the local SLATE charity shop in Hunslet, with profits being reinvested in new parts and equipment.

Volunteers are trained to PAT test equipment and given basic electrical and tool safety training.

GTT has Steve Thompson and Al Brown who are expert practitioners in Electronics and IT with Douglas Villegas who guides volunteer motivation and development.

We congratulate Alex, Omar and Rafal who have recently been successfully moving into technology jobs in the private and public sectors. They all contributed to setting up the GTT computer network, with a file server and networked printer offering students WiFi access too.

School of Metal Bashers

This cohort of volunteers – like the tutors that get involved to keep their skills up to date – have been so successful there is now a shortage of equipment to work on.

If you know anyone who can help us find donations of unwanted computers and laptops please contact GTT.

Pre-Windows XP computers may not be useable. Computers with Hard Drives are very welcome: GTT promises to wipe the data from them before they are used and installs new software onto recycled machines.

If you like the sound of what you hear and would like to be involved in the project please contact GTT.

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