Huon Valley News

Bridging the Digital Divide

When Susan Westcott set her mind to learning how to pair her poetry with video, she admits she didn’t know what she was in for. But twelve months on Susan is thrilled with how far she’s come and her ability to acquire sophisticated technical skills such as editing in iMovie.

“I had no idea what I was stepping into. It was a void. But thanks to all the help, generosity, kindness, and patience from my tutors I feel confident, more secure, proud, and grateful for what I’ve learnt,” Susan said.

“I believe everyone can do what I’ve done. It’s like a marriage to yourself. It takes commitment and not seeing yourself as past it or not capable.”

For Susan her journey of becoming tech savvy began at the Geeveston Community Centre doing computer classes and then she signed up for personalised tutoring with Huon Valley Council’s Tech Hour program.

“When I began, I had no idea about making a video, and I had no idea of Google Docs or Google Drive.

“I was quite specific with what I wanted to learn but my tutors made me realised that I needed foundational skills first. This can be quite frustrating at first because you hear yourself saying, ‘but I don’t want to learn all that, I just want to do this’.

“Rosa, my tutor, unpacked everything very slowly. The self-awareness was huge for me.

“All my tutors have been very patient with me, and I had to learn to be patient with myself. The kindness and tolerance that’s been shown to me as I’m learning has helped me to be more tolerant with myself and others.”

Susan believes older people need to take the initiative themselves to do courses and seek professional tutoring rather than rely on their children to do it for them or to teach them.

“Our kids don’t have time to be our teachers or to be doing all the things we say we can’t do.

“Yes, it’s all new and it can be daunting but once you start learning step by step it become less scary.

“I encourage people to take up this free service, it’s a wonderful opportunity. You will learn despite yourself; all you have to do is make the time and trust the process.

“Forget telling yourself you’re stupid, or you’re too old, it’s about living in a world where you need to have these tools. Begin at the bottom and congratulate yourself along the way.”

As well as learning how to make movies with her poetry, Susan has also learnt how to differentiate between official websites and unofficial websites, how to sign into MyGov using the app, and has become more knowledgeable about scams.

“Learning about Google Docs and Google Drive has helped me get all my information digitalised which has tidied up my physical office space!

“I am happy to say I have the capacity to use technology and I can engage in the world in a full and proper way.”

Tech Hour is held every Wednesday during school terms in Huonville at the Huon Valley Hub. Online tech sessions are also available.

Book your appointment now (03) 6264 0300 or email

Tech Hour is an initiative of the Huon Valley Council.