Happy senior woman in graduate capThe US Census Bureau has reported that people aged 65 and older will outnumber those under 18 years old by 2034. Every year, millions of these senior citizens look at life after retirement as an opportunity to expand their horizons and learn more. It’s a time to take special-interest lessons or even earn a degree. For some, it may  even mean going back into the workforce and starting a new career.

That’s what I did as a 71-year-old retired high school assistant principal. I went back to college, earned another degree and eventually entered the workforce. What I immediately discovered, however, was the “Wild West” of technology. Every mode of learning or working involved online programs.

Colleges and universities were  offering curricular courses via online sessions or what are called distance learning venues. Instead of sitting in a classroom surrounded by fellow students with the instructor in front of the class, I sat at home at my laptop with a cup of coffee and simply clicked a link I received in an email to enter an online grad class via Zoom. Zoom Meetings is a proprietary videotelephony software program.

Today, I have also become one of those people who work from home… better known as remote employment. Through Zoom, I partake in virtual meetings or have one-on-one conversations with clients. I also teach online, offering Power Point presentations via Zoom.

There are other video conferencing platforms,  such as Microsoft Teams or Google Meet. However, Zoom right now is used the most in schools and the workplace. As long as you have a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer — in other words, a camera, speakers and microphone — you have access to Zoom (once you download the program).

How did I learn to use it? As with many things  in these rapidly changing times, I learned through trial and error. This, fortunately, has worked for me, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Instead, I’d suggest taking a class or going to www.youtube.com, where you can watch video demonstrations on how to use Zoom or just about any other application, for that matter.

The year 2034 is just 12 years away. By then, distance learning or remote working will probably have advanced to three-dimensional holographic technology. Your teacher, boss or client will be visible before you in real-life form.

Ah, technology! Embrace it, delight in the benefits of it, and like me, just enjoy the fun of it!

Office of Continuing Education
University of Hawai‘i/Kapi‘olani Community College
Teri Pinney | 808-342-7690 | tpinney@hawaii.edu