Sci-Fi Comes To Life

19-27 August is Senior’s Week! Here, SLQ volunteer Gretchen Ward gives us her thoughts on the Digital Futures Lab, and different generations’ relationship to technology.

Gretchen Ward, SLQ Volunteer. Image provided by SLQ staff member

Gretchen Ward, SLQ Volunteer. Image provided by SLQ staff member

When a mature person says to me “I don’t understand new technology” my reply is “If a human invented it, a human can use it.” I believe every senior can master modern technology, and benefit from it.

I wasn’t always pro-IT; I avoided e-readers, I kept my landline phone and used a small pre-paid mobile for texting only. I thought technology was invasive and time-wasting, not to mention eroding good manners. Especially frustrating is the person who keeps one eye on their mobile phone, flicking their thumb over the screen while you’re trying to have a conversation.

Then I realised I was missing out on a lot of good things! Experiences such as exploring a holiday destination with Google Maps; or downloading an e-book, or watching a video on my iPad, any time of the day or night; or speaking to my cousin while she walked around her remodelled kitchen with her laptop, and I viewed the design via Skype! This liberation never ceases to amaze me - the joy of staying in touch simply and easily, and being connected to the internet for instant information on my mobile. Everything from family messages to bookings to e-newsletter subscriptions is handled through technology.

In the Digital Futures Lab, one of my delights is showing senior visitors the Virtual Reality headsets and the Augmented Reality Sandpit. They are as gob-smacked as I am by these experiences. It is as if our early viewings of sci-fi shows have come to life!

I may never give myself over to 24/7 connectivity – and perhaps phone etiquette still needs improving – but I admit that I enjoy the benefits of IT and have fun exploring the endless world wide web on a device as small as my hand.

Gretchen Ward, SLQ Volunteer

More information

Google Maps



Virtual Reality

Augmented Reality Sandpit

Digital Futures Lab /whats-on/calevents/general/digital-futures/digital-futures

Ask Us service /services/ask-us


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