Senior Computer Wizards Teach Digital Skills to Peers

It's unusual for the senior set to be computer early-adopters. The assumption is they are behind the curve, trying to catch up, or giving up. The digital world is too much for them.

Enter Isabella Dryden, 94, and Jean Johnson, 92, of Winnipeg, Manitoba, who have been computer educators since the early 80s. The two friends teach computer classes for the older population at Creative Retirement Manitoba.

Dryden, a retired school teacher, became familiar with computers and data processing in the early 1970s. Johnson received her first computer in the early '80s, a gift from her son. She met Dryden when she signed up to take her class 27 years ago.

Dryden expounded to the Winnipeg Free Press about her ideas on lifelong learning: "There are two things in life that are important to me -- one is education and the other is volunteering," Dryden explained. "I think it's a privilege to be a teacher and I think it's a privilege to be a volunteer and both of those activities give me a great deal of joy."

Dryden's persistence has paid off. Recently, she became a recipient of a Lieutenant Governor's Make a Difference Community Award.

Computer classes are often offered in Assisted Living and Continuing Care residences.