The old new world: Edtech platforms teach senior citizens how to navigate the basics of a digital present
From accessing daily needs to social activities, everything went online overnight. Though many urban seniors had smartphones, they did not know how to use them beyond the basics. That has changed now.
Before the pandemic hit, Ruchika Rana (name changed) had a packed calendar. She volunteered at an NGO thrice a week, met her kitty group and women’s clubs frequently, and ran her household and a retinue of servants with an iron fist.
As soon as lockdown was imposed, life came to a standstill for this Delhi-based 73-year-old. “Everything suddenly moved online, I began depending on my children to log me into Zoom meetings, gave up the household running to my tech-savvy daughter-in-law, and endured numerous embarrassing moments of digital illiteracy!”
Rana is not alone. A HelpAge India analysis of the elderly released in August 2020 indicates a tremendous increase in the age-related digital divide after the pandemic. From accessing daily needs to social activities, everything went online overnight. Though many urban seniors had the requisite smartphones and devices, they did not know how to use them beyond the basics.
Realising this, Bengaluru-based sisters Shreya and Surbhi Bajaj launched Easy Hai, a digital literacy platform for adults and seniors in April last year. Through word of mouth and social media, they have taught over 9,000 people in the past year, most of whom are above the age of 60.
“They speak perfect English but they can’t use their phones, which is a blow to their self-confidence. So, we teach them to think of technology as a language all its own. For us, it was most important to create a safe space for our students. We feel it is easy to teach seniors because we follow a structured curriculum, assign homework, and keep following up,” they share.
While Easy Hai’s classes are conducted on Zoom, American company GetSetUp conducts both on their website and Zoom. With over two million users accessing their courses across 160 countries, they were poised for success when they launched in India in October 2020. “We set out to build an online platform where older adults would train their peers on software and services. Projected to be 20 percent of the global population in the next 10 years, this large and important demographic is often ignored. We wanted to give them an opportunity, so both teachers and students come from this demographic,” shares their Senior Vice President of International Markets, Deval Delivala.
A government survey conducted late last year indicated the prevalence of symptoms of depression in 30 percent of India’s elderly population. This prompted Seniority—India’s largest online shopping destination for the elderly—to launch their Evergreen Club, a web and app-based platform where seniors can e-meet like-minded people while learning useful courses.
Tapan Mishra, Founder, Seniority, sums it up, “Covid has affected us all, regardless of age, geographies and socio-economic backgrounds.” This makes the promotion of digital literacy for senior citizens
a worthy occupation.
HOW TO ACCESS
Set up classes through their Instagram page: @techeasyhai
Email: Hello@easy-hai.com; Price: Depends on number of classes. Ranges from Rs 200 per class to Rs 3,000 for masterclasses of 10 or more sessions
Join classes through getsetup.io; Price: Free trial with access to five basic lessons. Rs 2000 per year for full access with discount.
SENIORITY – EVERGREEN CLUB
Download the app on Google Play and App Store
Email: Care@evergreenclub.in; Price: 15 sessions for Rs 199 per month. 60 sessions for Rs 599 per month. Unlimited sessions at Rs 999 per month.
“We set out to build an online platform where older adults would train their peers on software and services. Projected to be 20 percent of the global population in the next 10 years, this large and important demographic is often ignored.”
Deval Delivala, SVP, International Markets, GetSetUp