New program teaches Igloolik, Nunavut, elders how to take a trip to cyberspace

The Igloolik recreation department have bought eight computers which are showing an older generation how to venture through cyberspace, one website at a time.

'Some elders finally understood why young people were so attracted to the computer,' says program coordinator

With the assistance of staff, elders used Facebook, Youtube and Google Maps to learn how to stay connected to the world using computers. (Hamlet of Igloolik)

Elders in Igloolik, Nunavut are venturing through cyberspace, one website at a time.  

Eight new computers — located in the Igloolik Amitturmiut Library — were purchased by the Igloolik recreation department through funding from the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

In a new course offered by the department, instructors showed elders how to stay in touch with friends and family using social media.

The hamlet's recreation director, Ghadihelea Quezada, mentioned the elders who participated in the course were fascinated by what they were taught. 

"Some of the elders saw themselves [on the Internet] which was quite shocking for them," said Quezada. "We also explained that this is how people are connecting around the world,"

Some elders were taught how to keep connected on Facebook while others were entertained with "how to" videos on Youtube.

"It was quite exciting to see them open their minds to a whole new world," said Quezada. "We wanted to create a social environment for the elders which would fill in the gaps between (them) and the youth."

About half a dozen community members took part in the new program and were able to explore basic social media and Google applications. One elder was surprised to see the internet knew exactly where she lived.

Elders participated in a course offered by the Igloolik recreation department focusing on how to stay connected using the internet. (Hamlet of Igloolik)

"We showed one of the elders her own home on Google Maps," said Quezada. "She was so shocked. She said if she would have seen this as a little girl (she) would have been so scared."

Quezada added because of this exposure to modern technology, some elders finally understood why young people were so attracted to the computer.

The department hasn't yet announced if they will be holding additional computer classes. Quezada said that next, they are planning on offering a cooking course to residents.

- With files from Qavavao Peter