Listen to Ron's Interview with Robyn Berger-Gaston and Wendy Weiss
How Seniors Can Overcome “Techfusion” and Learn New Tech Skills
Like it or not, the pandemic has pushed many of us into the virtual world every day—a constant barrage of technology, from Zoom meetings, to webinars, online programs and projects, internet searches, emails, texts and social media. Of course, in a time of social distancing and often isolation, technology has been an essential tool in keeping us connected and productive. At the same time, it’s often challenging, complicated, confusing, and well, exasperating, when we can’t figure out how to use our devices at critical moments. And it can be especially hard for older folks—those who are decidedly not “digital natives” and may struggle to learn and keep up with high tech skills. In today’s episode, two experienced experts, Wendy Weiss and Robyn Berger-Gaston, will talk about how to help seniors (and perhaps the rest of us) embrace technology and avoid being overwhelmed by “techfusion.” Wendy, a former Wall Street professional, is an entrepreneur who provides personalized technology training to individuals and businesses on the use of everyday technological devices. Robyn, for her part, oversees several programs for a large Long Island nonprofit agency, including SeniorNet, which provides computer and technology training for people ages 50 and over. Together, they will address a range of issues, programs and approaches to help seniors learn new tech skills. What are the biggest challenges and needs? What kinds of courses, one-on-one classes and intergenerational programs are most effective? Where can people get “tech tips” and other useful resources? And when people are overwhelmed, how can you encourage and instill the confidence in them, that they can manage technology—and enhance their lives in the process?
Robyn Berger-Gaston is Division Director of the Family Service League, Inc. in Riverhead, New York. After receiving her master’s degree in social work in 1991 from the New York State University at Stony Brook, School of Social Welfare, she dedicated the first 10 years of her career to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and care of persons with the disease. Robyn counseled the newly diagnosed and their families and developed a number of population-specific prevention education models. In 2000, Robyn began at Family Service League overseeing an array of youth- and family-centered services at the Riverhead Family Center. Today, as division director, Robyn has oversight of youth, senior and intergenerational programs for the agency, including SeniorNet, which provides computer and technology training for people age 50 and over. She also oversees the Community Crisis Action Team, which responds to traumatic events and critical incidents throughout Suffolk County, including suicides. Robyn has received extensive training from the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and is an approved instructor for Group Crisis Intervention. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member at St. Joseph’s College, Human Services department.
Wendy Weiss is the founder of TechTime, providing personalized training to individuals, and businesses on the use of everyday technological devices. Previously, Wendy worked as a financial services professional for 20 years, selling market data to institutional investors on Wall Street. After two decades, she realized it was time for a change and started TechTime, redirecting her passion for educating and training toward helping others gain a better understanding for the technological world in which we live. Wendy offers one-on-one or small-group training sessions with lessons tailored to individual needs. Her topics of focus include texting/e-mailing, applications, Microsoft Office, Google Suite, internet use (such as searching the web, online banking and shopping, booking travel, etc.), social media, compiling and digitizing personal data. Her goal is to make these tasks easy and approachable for everyone.
Contacts: Robyn Berger-Gaston: firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Weiss: email@example.com