About Getting Connected

Getting Conneted is a set of guides for helping older adults learn how to use the video conferencing software like Zoom and Cisco WebEx. Our goal is not just to help people learn how to use this software, but gain confidence with their smartphones and computers so they can learn how to use other important pieces of software too.

The project emerged at a grassroots level in response to the concerns of older adults in the Dorcester and Mattaphan neighborhoods in Boston who lacked confidence with technology were expressing about their experiences with isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic. As family, friends, civic groups, and city council meetings all started communicating using tools like Zoom, these older adults felt left out.

This idea was incubated in the Boston Collaborative Governance Initiative (BCGi), a gathering of resident leaders, City Councilor Andrea Campbell’s office, City of Boston department heads, students at MIT and the Univeristy of Washington, and faculty from Emerson College, MIT, and the University of Washington.

We used co-design principles and processes, working with older adults and community groups to develop a robust set of technology guides that enable older adults to access, actively participate, and thrive in virtual social and civic spaces.

Getting Connected is led by:
Maridena Rojas (The Boston Project Ministries, Talbot-Norfolk Triangle Neighbors United)
CJ Jean-Louis (The Office of City Councilmember Andrea Cambpell)

And is only possible with hard work from:
Mike Sugarman (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Kat Wyly (University of Washington)
Leslie Yan (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Elie Cuevas (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Sarah Prado (Wellesley College)

This project is facilitated by the People’s Collaborative Governance Network of Boston, and is support by The Boston Project Ministries, Talbot-Norfolk Triangle Neighbors United, the Office of City Councilmember Andrea Campbell, the City of Boston, the Engagemet Lab at Emerson College, and the department of Comparative Media Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Thank you greatly to Eric Gordon and Rachele Gordon for the wisdom, guidance, and structure as we have made Getting Connected.