Digital tools at your disposal
March 2020: now may be a good time to have a serious re-think about how technology is used for the best support of your U3A members.
Try these three questions to determine what you might need to achieve and how to go about it.
1. What proportion of your members use digital tools – smartphones / iphones, laptops, tablets / ipads, desktop computers? These are your existing digital ‘congregation’. Keeping an up-to-date picture will help know who you are reaching and how.
2. Does your U3A have groups providing digital help / support for members?
Engaging existing groups will be a way into widening the uptake of digital tools
3. Do your existing IT-focused groups have space for new members? If so ask whether these groups can help to support your U3A in certain communication tasks. If they have no space, then see the next question.
4. In your U3A, do you know which groups, group leaders or individual members are IT users? Identify and work with potential advocates among members who are not part of existing IT-focused groups. Welcoming and having a go at creative ideas from unexpected quarters enriches your U3A and its members
What and how
There are lots of choices of good tools to use. You will need to decide on cost, reliability and ease of use.
Choose the right tools for specific purposes eg Facebook is probably not a good choice for meetings; videoconferencing is not a good tool for sharing random comments or news.
Encourage your digital advocates to have a go and report back.
Please share with us any good programs not listed here.
Some available Tools, in no particular order
These are free tools that we have used. If you would like to suggest more, please send us your recommendations
nb. ‘Platform’ means the operating system of your device eg windows, MacOSX, Android, Linux
|www.facebook.com or app store||Any platform||How-to guide on right|
|Zoom||https://zoom.us/ or app store||Any platform||How-to guides here zoom resources|
|Download from your phone or tablet app store||Android|
|https://twitter.com or app store||Any platform||Getting started guides on right, or click twitter.com and search for us using @nwu3a|
|Youtube||https://www.youtube.com/ or app store||Any platform|
Free tools fund their activities by gathering your data and targeting you with adverts based on your data. This is simply a fact of modern digital life. Here is how you control it:
• Use an adblocker that works well with your browser
• Some web browsers are easier to ‘lock down’ than others (see section on web browsers)
- the web browser Firefox has easily found options for controlling your browsing experience
- the web browser DuckDuckGo allows you to clear all your data at the end of every browsing session
• Keep passwords and usernames safe. Don’t share them especially not online or on the phone / by text
• Make sure you have a good anti-virus program and/or ‘malware’ blocker on your device (including smartphone)
• Keep devices and programs updated
Media coverage of Zoom safety issues
You and your members may have seen news items in April 2020 pointing out incidents where Zoom meetings have been disrupted by uninvited attendees. In all of these cases the meetings concerned had not been called securely. We have prepared a printable sheet of instructions to allow your meeting to take place in complete safety. Check the current advice sheets on safety, meeting set-up and handling contacts at zoom resources
The basic guide to joining or calling a Zoom meeting used in training sessions November 2020 Basic Zoom user guide