A new dimension to embrace

"Other than throwing it at me or against the wall out of frustration, I can fix anything so don't be afraid to experiment." This is one of the many "Tak-isms" my students will hear throughout the Discover Digital Literacy! (DDL!) program, taken from the "Satosan Method" I devised for teaching seniors. In the last three years, I haven't seen a single tablet fly out of our students' hands and that's a good thing. Although tablets are near commodities, we are only able to assign them as a hands-on learning tool to each student because of our generous donors.

The Satosan Method, a handbook of sorts, is the culmination of my experience over the span of three decades in helping people with technology and specifically tuned for helping seniors discover digital literacy.

For 16 consecutive weeks, barring holidays, seniors age 60 and over see the same 12 faces at the same time and day of the week. I think of myself as the "teacher" for the first several classes, morphing into a "guiding" role for the duration of each program. This journey, once embarked, becomes another of their lifelong learning initiatives as digital literacy is a 21st century "life-skill."

The Center for Aging in the Digital World, the nonprofit my wife and I co-founded, held our 4th annual Living in the Digital World Senior Expo virtually for the first time last month where presentations were live streamed. Westlake | Bay Village Observer was our media sponsor (thank you WBVO!) and was joined by other sponsors and partners to make it possible.

In our 2016 strategic plan, we had a goal to simultaneously introduce an online equivalent of our in-person DDL! program. Since we were just starting and had to prove Satosan Method's efficacy, we prioritized in-person (i.e. real world) over digital world program delivery.

Earlier this year, before the coronavirus pandemic unfolded, we tested "DDL! in FOCUS" for our graduates. This pilot program explored a singular topic, this first time we explored curation options for digital photos amassed on smartphones and tablets, in four consecutive weeks. It was received well thus becoming a regular offering to continue to support our graduates on their journey. Another pilot, "DDL! for Workforce," was delayed due to the pandemic.

We know that the coronavirus pandemic will forever change our lifestyles going forward. Our in-person programs will continue to be offered under new social distancing practices.

Four years later, we are borrowing a page from our old strategic plan to introduce online versions of our in-person programs. Our first pilot for this initiative will be called "DDL! FastTrack" which will be an advanced version of the flagship DDL! and shorter in duration. We should be ready by mid-summer so stay tuned to empowerseniors.org and @center4aging on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more news.

Discovering digital literacy will provide benefits and introduce options to minimize the risk of becoming lonely and socially isolated when in-person emotional connectedness becomes a challenge as in the past couple months of social distancing has shown!

Tak Sato

Strategist and technologist with almost 30 years of experience in the private sector. Holds Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Science and Executive MBA from Cleveland State University.

As Founder of the Center for Aging in the Digital World, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit empowering seniors with digital literacy, Tak connects the dots to help people utilize appropriate technology in their personal and professional lives while using digital literacy as a tool for seniors to avoid loneliness and social isolation

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Volume 12, Issue 11, Posted 10:35 AM, 06.02.2020