Now in English, project teaches seniors new ways to keep in touch by smartphone
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Now in English, project teaches seniors new ways to keep in touch by smartphone

Some 1,500 people joined original Hebrew language course launched by three Jerusalem social entrepreneurs to help elderly master Zoom, WhatsApp during COVID-19 lockdown

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

Gabi Arnovitz (center) with David Suraqui  (L) and Uriel Shuraki. (Courtesy)
Gabi Arnovitz (center) with David Suraqui (L) and Uriel Shuraki. (Courtesy)

A speedily launched initiative to teach seniors how to operate smartphones during the coronavirus crisis is now being launched in English.

The project, launched by three Jerusalem social entrepreneurs — Gabi Arnovitz, Uriel Shuraki and David Suraqui — explains how to use the WhatsApp messaging service, the video-conferencing application Zoom, and more.

“We have a whole curriculum, from WhatsApp and Facebook to Google Drive,” Arnovitz told The Times of Israel when the Hebrew course launched in April.

Some 1,500 people have signed up for the Hebrew language course.

The course in English is easy to join online via the course website.

“All you need to do after that is to click on the link that you get and press play on the YouTube video,” Arnovitz explained.

The course comprises seven-minute video clips on a dedicated YouTube channel accessed via links sent out on WhatsApp, one version for iPhone and one for Android.

Each video shows the phone screen and a moving cursor, with the bilingual Arnovitz explaining exactly what he is doing.

Smart seniors taking part in a Zoom video conference in Hebrew initiated as part of the course. (Courtesy)

Once the coronavirus crisis is over, the three plan to turn the course into a business.

Said Arnovitz when the course launched in April, “We’ve been thinking of doing a startup for a while. At some point we’ll figure out how to make this a business, but for now it’s free, because we’re trying to help combat loneliness. People are in bad shape and we’re trying to help.”

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