Generations on Line® simplifies the Internet for seniors. We guide a novice step-by-step in large type, familiar language, and friendly icons on to the World Wide Web, email and more. Because we love and respect our elders, and want to keep them connected.

 

Generations on Line exists because age must not close the door to opportunity for sharing wisdom, learning new skills, connecting to others, or accessing online resources. If you fear that the world is getting smaller for someone you know and want to help expand it, one possible answer is to help them learn to use the Internet. Generations on Line can guide someone who has never touched a computer learn to use the Internet, email, and the basic tools needed to participate in the cyber world of endless possibilities.

And....It's free!

Support the work of Generations on Line. Your gift of any amount will be sincerely appreciated. Donate now.

Pictured above: Harry Broadbent (right), at age 92, pleased and surprised at his first encounter with an iPad — and also flummoxed as the screen goes black. Harry is helping Technical Director Michael Pierce (left) conduct initial studies to create the GoL app.

Our Story

"Oh no Dear, I'm too old; I'm too dumb!"

Once upon a time the elders in a community knew more than the children. Then, when new tools in cyberspace arose and began their rapid rise in the late 90's, younger generations quickly caught on or were taught in school or business. But elders of "a certain age" were less inclined to tackle the new expensive computers, with their mice and memes. We saw the disconnect: the less mobile who might benefit most from the connections, convenience, and cost-free Internet were least likely to use it. They were confused, intimidated, uninterested, and left out. When we began in 1999, 86% of those aged 65 and older were not on "the information superhighway;" as it was called. "Oh no, dear, I'm too old; I'm too dumb" to learn, they told us.

Generations on Line (GoL) set out to simplify these tools in order to foster and promote Internet literacy, access, and skills to the elderly and overcome their fear of the new electronic media. We created, tested, and developed on-screen tutorials that guide a senior step-by step with age-friendly instructions in large type and plain English, respectfully and clearly.

In a national launch of Generations on Line on September 7, 2000, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce for the first time announced Digital Inclusion for Seniors, urged children to send their grandparents an email through Generations on Line, and our nonprofit program took off around the country. Our secret sauce is in the software. Developed with experts in older adult learning, and tested, for months in multi-centered trials, the program has trained nearly 100,000 older adults, most of whom had never touched a computer — although some were the first to work with IBM punch card technology.

 

We provide PC and tablet training in two ways — to institutions and to individuals.


For institutions that serve seniors, we offer a web-based version of both the tablet and PC training programs. The tablet training, pioneered with the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and funded by the Pennsylvania Department on Aging, is a comprehensive program called a Sip & Swipe Café®. We have served nearly 2000 facilities, including assisted living and retirement centers, HUD subsidized housing, senior centers and public libraries.

For individuals, caregivers, and families, we provide our tablet training through apps in both the Apple App store and Android Google Play store. We also have developed tutorials that simplify the Internet for seniors seeking specific tasks — from the Medicare Part D Plan Finder to the Social Security website. We pioneered a Workforce Development training program for institutions that helps retirees who need to learn how to find part-time employment online, as newspaper ads disappear and most applications require digital submission.

Our story is the story of embracing and always including "The Paper Generation."
 

Pictured above: The inspiration behind Generations on Line, the mother of our founder, laughing with her granddaughter. She reflects the joy when the generations connect — and GoL's passion for ensuring that our oldest and wisest deserve to have their voices included.

Staff

Tobey Gordon Dichter, M.Ed.

GoL founder and CEO, Tobey Gordon Dichter, was named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging by PBS Next Avenue in October, 2015. Ms. Dichter is the former Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs and Executive Committee Member at SmithKline Beecham Healthcare Services (now Glaxo SmithKline), a worldwide healthcare company. She was known for the first corporate television news program for employees worldwide, and later as the founder of the Drug Testing Index and repositioning Pap Screening from a finite test to a screen. Ms. Dichter left SmithKline in 1999 to pursue Generations on Line. She has served on the Boards of The Free Library of Philadelphia (chair), Maternity Care Coalition, The Philadelphia School, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, The Wilma Theater, and The Philadelphia Film Society. Ms. Dichter is a frequent speaker and consultant on the digital divide. She is the full-time, unpaid chief executive of the organization, responsible for strategic direction, partnership development, finance, and Board and public relations.

 

Vasil J. Pappas, Jr., M.B.A.

Founder of Precision Media Works, Mr. Pappas is a Philadelphia-area producer of print and electronic communications. He is the former vice president and general manager of United Press International's business news and financial information division, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and the founding editor of the National Business Employment Weekly. He is an officer and board member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Association. As COO, Mr. Pappas is responsible for strategic planning, security, and oversight of Generations on Line service.

 

Michael Pierce, M.Div.

Director of Training and Techhnology, Mr. Pierce has been in computer technology and training for 20 years, with a multigenerational focus. As the formerDirector for Information Technology for the Association for Education of Young Children, a nonprofit youth agency, and a Pastor, he brings the unique combination of training and counseling, troubleshooting and communication to seniors. He holds a BS in Religion and Philosophy with a Minor in Computer Science, and a Masters of Divinity. Mr. Pierce oversees GoL's software and backend programming, runs the GoL Help Desk, and creates  new software editions and upgrades. He is a recognized and lauded speaker at national aging network meetings.

 

Katie Burke, M.B.A.

GoL administrator, and Sip & Swipe project manager, Ms. Burke was formerly with Chilton Research Services, as market research project director. She holds a B.S. with concentration in marketing from Villanova University and an M.B.A. from Villanova University. An active community volunteer, she has chaired and coordinated events and raised significant funding for a range of church, school, health and childcare projects,inbcluding robotics school competitions. Ms. Burke manages project flow, database,  client service, and market research.


Generations on Line
2017 Board of Directors and Advisors

John Beilenson, M.A.

President, Strategic Communications & Planning, consultants to not-for-profit organizations, particularly in the field of aging, Editorial director of Infoaging.org for American Federation for Aging Research, author/editor of 16 books related to aging.

 

*H.E. Broadbent, Ph.D.

Former Director of Information Technology, The Free Library of Philadelphia and former head of Task force on seniors and youth, American Library Association. Secretary.

 

Humphrey Chen, M.B.A.

Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Independence Banc; former Vice President Verizon; previous VP Microsoft

 

Rennie Cohen, B.S.

Consultant, Aging Positively llc. Former Executive Director of Center in the Park (29 years), former Vice-President of the National Council on Aging's (NCOA) National Institute of Senior Centers (NISC), founding President of the Pennsylvania Association of Senior Centers, and former President of the Philadelphia Association of Senior Center Administrators.

 

Debbie Ellen Dalecki, Ph.D. (abd), M.S.W.

Individual and Family Studies with a concentration in Gerontology, University of Delaware Resident Services Coordinator, Ingleside Retirement Apartments, Ingleside Homes, Inc., Wilmington, Delaware

 

*Tobey Gordon Dichter, M.Ed.

Unpaid CEO and Founder of Generations on Line; former Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs and Executive Committee Member at SmithKline Beecham Healthcare Services (now GlaxoSmithKline).

 

Brian Duke, B.A.

System Director, Senior Services, Main Line Health; Former Secretary of Aging, Pennsylvania; previously, Pennsylvania Department of Aging, Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, New Jersey Foundation for Aging

 

Cecilia Garcia, Benton Foundation Senior Advisor, B.A.

Advises the Benton Foundation on issues related to broadband adoption challenges for low-income seniors. Executive Director 1997-2013. Former press secretary for Bob Filner (D-CA) a Member of the U.S House of Representatives. Communications director for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a national Latino nonprofit organization, and producer at WTVS, Detroit's public television station. Media & Democracy Coalition Board of Directors.

 

*Kathy Gosliner, M.B.A., M.Ed.

Consultant and former Associate Director and Vice President of Development, Free Library of Philadelphia system of 55 branches.

 

Kathryn Jedrziewski, Ph.D.

Deputy Director, Institute on Aging, University of Pennsylvania. Deputy Director for Administration, Alzheimer's Disease Center

 

Jeremy Kramer, B.S. economics

Converged Products and Platforms, Comcast Corporation

 

*Michael Marcus, Ph.D. (abd), M.S.W.

Principal, Consultants for Community Resources,a national network of experts providing critical services to change makers.

Former Program Director, Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. Former Sr. Program Officer Chicago Community Trust.

 

*Bruce Melgary, M.S.

Executive Director, The Brook J. Lenfest Foundation and The Allerton Foundation
Senior Fellow, Drexel University Center for Cultural Partnerships

 

Sandra Raghu

Executive Director, American Postal Workers House, HUD low income housing for seniors

 

William Robson

Retired, former president of Innovation Focus Inc., a market research and idea generation consultancy that works with Fortune 100 companies. He is currently the Generations on Line coach at the Philadelphia Senior Center.

 

Wanda Rodriguez-Mercado

Project Coordinator, National Association for Hispanic Elderly

 

Quynh Mai-Nguyen

Independent graphic designer, adjunct professor at Temple University's Tyler School of Art and creative lead at Philabundance
Co-founder and former Creative Director of Jay Social Web Design firm.

 

David Nevison

Associate Executive Director, Planning and Development, Philadelphia Corporation for Aging

 

Grahame Richards, J.D.

Program Director, The Lenfest Foundation

 

*Sean Wechter, M.B.A.

Senior Vice President of Digital Technology and Product Development at TEGNA (formerly Gannett) Corporation; Previously VP Comcast Corporation

 

Ann Wrixon

Executive Director, Independent Adoption Center, Former President and CEO, SeniorNet



 

*Directors have governance responsibility

Pictured above: GoL staff, left to right, Michael Pierce, Katie Burke, VJ Pappas and Tobey Gordon Dichter.

For use in facilities that serve the elderly:
An overview of GoL for PCs

With step-by-step directions on every screen, there is no need to remember the instructions.  There is nothing intuitive about making an "@" sign with a SHIFT and 2 KEY!
Simple language in large type, with age-friendly icons, enable the older and wiser to learn in a safe and comfortable space.

The GoL program for desktop and notebook computers has four sections:

 

Email

Enables Elders to communicate directly with family and friends. The GoL email program is a scaled-down version of a typical web-based e-mail service, providing key features in a simpler format.

 

Memories: Generation to generation

An application that facilitates threaded discussion between elders and children in participating US classrooms. Elders are able to contribute to the education of youngsters, by fielding classroom questions about specific topics in which they have had related life experiences. Students are able to obtain unique first-person perspectives on historical events, social changes and culture; while affording elders a new outlet to share their memories.

 

Look It Up

A simplified search feature that allows elders to access information through the Web. Importantly, there is instruction and support to exit at any time, recognizing that through a search, one can easily get lost in cyberspace and advertisements.

 

More Choices

a linked index for elders that provides a sampling of useful, entertaining, and practical web sites to visit. The purpose is to give novice users a taste of 'web fishing' rather than typical 'surfing' on the World Wide Web, which can often be overwhelming to newbies. In this application, we bookmark a variety of options, including those on health, travel, finance and community.

 

Sign up for the Generations on Line PC program if your institution serves seniors.

Pictured above: The GoL clothesline is a visual metaphor for bridging old and new terminology. Those old enough to remember times before clothes dryers are old enough for Generations on Line.

GoL for tablets

Tablet training programs for individuals

The older and wiser learn in a safe and familiar environment with the aid of a friend or family member as a coach. The GoL App for tablets is free, and available for download for iPads and Android devices.

 

Tablet training programs for organizations

A Sip & Swipe Café can get older adults in your community connected online, using the simplest tool available — the tablet. Offered at locations that serve seniors (e.g. senior centers, retirement centers and public libraries), this intuitive learning environment from Generations on Line requires only a few web-enabled tablets, a voulunteer coach, and perhaps some coffee or tea!


An overview of the GoL tablet app

The GoL App is designed for those who have never touched a tablet, and also for those who use a tablet tentatively, perhaps for only one or two tasks. By tapping on one of the four tablets hanging from the home page clothesline, novices are taken step-by-step through the learning process. Instructions stay on the screen at all times, and it's easy to return to any section at any time for a review what you have learned.

 

The Basics

Introduces the touchscreen, the on-screen keyboard, and even teaches how to use voice recognition
  

The Web

Helps participants master the basics of using Google to search the Internet


Email

Walks new users through the process of setting up and accessing email on a tablet, and also explains text messaging, and video calling


More

Explains how to take and view photographs on the tablet, how to obtain and use apps, and how to access YouTube videos for both entertainment and to use as a learning tool

Pictured above: The GoL clothesline is a visual metaphor for bridging old and new terminology. Those old enough to remember times before clothes dryers are old enough for Generations on Line.

Get Started

The first step in helping your favorite elders learn how to use the Internet is to get the free GoL App set up on a tablet and demonstrate how to find and open it. Insist that they read the directions out loud and perform each task with their own hands. It is best if the coach only offers verbal guidance and resists the temptation to touch the screen. You can also ask your local library or senior center if they already offer, or would like to set up a Sip & Swipe Café or GoL computer class. We will give the program to any organization that applies below.

 

For individuals

If you would like to get older friends or relatives online, and agree to be their coach, download the GoL App to a tablet they can use. The GoL App is available at no charge from the Apple App Store or Google play®.

 

For organizations and facilities

If your organization or facility serves seniors and would like to establish a PC-based training program, or implement a Sip & Swipe Café tablet-training program, we encourage you to apply now.

 

Questions?

If you have questions, or require additional information, please call Katie Burke at 215 222 6400.

Pictured above: When Josie Fletcher sent her first text message to her granddaughter, she didn’t think she would get a response within minutes, and was elated. Generations on Line simplifies the Internet and tablet technology for the paper generation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any question to see the answer.
 

How does the program work?

The software is an interactive program that guides a novice elder step-by-step on to email and the Internet with instructions on every screen. This is designed for elders who have never used a computer or are timid about fully exploring the Internet and email.

The Android and iOS Apple edition for tablet computers is designed for individual use anywhere. It teaches how to use the device and all its basics with hands (and fingers)-on approach. It guides a novice through obtaining and using email — first by seeing what it is all about, step by step; and then by actually using it while learning what to do. Because of the nature of email, this is best done with a GoL coach. The tablet editions also train users to search and to use all the other communications tools such as texting and video-chatting, as well as use of apps.

The desktop PC edition is designed for use in institutions that serve seniors. It provides free simplified email service, a specially designed multilingual search in 36 languages powered by BING and an ongoing intergenerational cultural exchange. It trains people to surf the net through both the search function and a series of links to a rotating series of potentially interesting websites, as well as a specially designed tutorial for reaching the plan finder for Medicare Part D. This is not available for individual home use because it includes an intergenerational exchange and GoL email.

Both programs include a coaching guide for peer mentors to assist novice users.

 

How much does it cost?

These basic literacy programs are FREE. Generations on Line is supported by grants and contributions. If we have helped you to get an older person online or if you simply appreciate what we do, please contribute whatever you wish through our donation page.

 

What is your privacy policy?

Generations on Line software does not collect, store or dispense individually identifiable information about its users. We are committed to protecting and ensuring the privacy of our users. To read our complete privacy policy, please download the pdf.

 

What is "Sip & Swipe?"

The Sip & Swipe Café is a simple and fun way for institutions to organize tablet training in a friendly setting. Just create a special area of the lunchroom or nutrition site where those patrons who sign up for tablet training and their coach can gather for an hour once or twice a week. This creates a buzz among the other patrons and promotes the program through organic growth. We thank the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging for creating the name and piloting this program so successfully in its senior centers.

 

Do I need to install any software for the PC edition?

No, you do not need to install any software. All of the software is stored on the Internet. What you need is a Generations on Line user name, password and our Internet address, which we will provide once you have completed and submitted the application form the Get Started page on this site.

 

Can a brand-new user teach herself the Internet with this?

Yes, depending on cognitive and motor skills. The GoL program is designed to be as self-teaching as possible. Included with the software are a range of tips, guides, and reminder booklets to encourage independent learning. Where active seniors congregate, they can teach themselves; in assisted living and nursing homes, public libraries and senior housing, the staff organize scheduled times. It helps to have someone at the center encouraging seniors to try it; once they do, many get "hooked." We provide a train-the-coach comprehensive kit that guides other older computer users to serve as temporary coaches on site.

 

Is Generations on Line available for home use?

Yes, our Apple and Android apps are available for home use anywhere and everywhere. The GoL App is available at the Apple App store for the iPad and at the Google Play Store for Android devices; the cloud version is available to any center that serves seniors, now at no cost — just feedback on how we help makes lives better for our oldest citizens.

 

Can I see the software?

Yes! Please reference our Get Started page for more information.

 

What tablet is best for my 75- year-old father?

Any full-screen recent tablet is fine. GoL offers our program for any iPad introduced after the very first edition (iPad 1). The operating system should be 9.3 or newer. If you can afford a cellular-equipped tablet, it reduces the hassle and cost of attaining WiFi.

 

For the PC edition, what kind of computer do we need? And how many?

You don't need an expensive computer. Almost any computer bought in the past four years ought to be fine, so long as it is equipped with Internet readiness. You can begin Generations on Line with one computer, placed in a lobby or dining or library area of the center — the idea is to attract reluctant seniors to experience the ease and value of the Internet.

 

Will it work on a MAC?

Yes, though some of the instructions differ a bit.

 

How does the technical support work?

Once you sign up, our administrator, Katie Burke, will call you and send you login information and coach's kit of materials (pdf). You will also receive a monthly newsletter with tips and suggested themes for programs should you desire to use. She will be available to consult if you have any problems.

 

Is there any special equipment needed or recommended?

The conventional mouse is the hardest part to master, although the program continually reinforces the basics. An inexpensive track ball type mouse, purchased at your local computer store, is easier for many. Assistive technologies and adapting your current computer settings to increase the ease of use for your patrons can be discussed with our training director.

 

How much staff time is involved?

For the administrator, we expect Generations on Line to become an enhancement, not a burden. We have created a turnkey system than includes a monthly online newsletter to address key questions and offer suggestions, and a personal technical-training representative who responds to questions by phone. The facility should simply designate someone to champion and coordinate the program.

 

Are you an ISP (Internet Service Provider)?

No, we are not an ISP. You need a computer and an Internet connection and perhaps WiFi if using tablets, which is provided through a local Internet Service Provider (ISP) or use the tablet edition in any public place that offers free WiFi.

 

How does our organization get coaches?

This is best handled locally by you and your staff — reach out to your residents or patrons to ask those with some computer or tablet experience willing to spend a few hours a week getting others online. GoL provides the comprehensive coaching guidance kit that gives a peer mentor coach all he or she needs to know!

 

How do I set the Generations on Line web page as the Internet browser's home page on our PCs?

Most Internet browsers allow you to choose what Internet web page you want their program to open into. If you need help doing this please contact us; we will help you reset your browser. When you call us, please be in front of your computer.

 

Are there grants for computers?

Grants are not available through Generations on Line. This is best handled locally through your outreach to local businesses that regularly upgrade their computers. You don't need the latest computer — just one equipped to access the Internet. However, the larger the monitor, the easier it is for elders. Ideally, a 19-inch monitor. As for tablets the software works on Android and iOS (Apple) tablets — some of the really old models (such as iPad1) do not support all the functionality of the software, such as using your voice to type.

 

How long do we get to keep the program?

You may keep the program as long as you wish. At this point, there is no expiration date for the software and no intention to create one. Our goal is to reduce the isolation and confusion the elderly have about the Internet revolution and enhance their ability to communicate.

 

How many seniors should we expect to use the system at our facility?

Use varies greatly among institutions. You define success — sometimes five people who are able read the Chinese newspaper every day is a success; some locations have dozens of regular users, others have 100; some libraries have individuals who come in just to see what the Internet is all about. Some facilities report patrons graduating to enrollment in their local classes once they see that the Internet is valuable and can be mastered without much trouble.









 
Pictured above: Graduation at the West Philadelphia Senior Citizen Center — each of these folks, and many more, received their certificate of accomplishment for mastering the iPad through Generations on Line simple training at a Sip & Swipe Café.

News

2016 Three-minute video of Generations on Line
by The Philo Project

Tobey Dichter presents Generations On Line
At Uplift Academy

Sip and Swipe Cafe
In action on YouTube

Dichter named one of the 50 Most Influential People in Aging
by NextAvenue/PBS October 2015

Philadelphia Corporation for Aging
Milestones Magazine
July 2015 — Apps for Everything

“Technology and Aging Independently”
Theme for PSRC Annual Fall Conference
Town Topics, November 05, 2014

Introductory Internet class offered to seniors
Daily Mountain Eagle, October 04, 2014

Senior moment: How the Internet is helping the elderly connect
Deseret News National Edition , June 10, 2014
(published with permission from Deseret Digital Media)

The Art of Aging: Senior Web Surfers
6ABC.com, February 06, 2014

Senior Service America, Inc. posts photos and comments
Of some of their 20,000 Generations on Line older learners

GoL PRESS RELEASE: Top Searches by Older American Newbies
The Post-Journal, December 16, 2013

Real People Empty Nesting
Empty Nest Magazine, Winter 2011-2012

Blog: Best Practices in Getting Low-Income Seniors Online
The Post-Journal, December 16, 2013

Generations on Line Helps Seniors
Find Medicare Online and Use Skype

Interview with GoL Founder, Tobey Dichter
WHYY Radio

Pictured above: By age 104 Kathryn Robinson (shown at age 99 above) could not speak or say her prayers, but she could use the internet and communicate via email, as she did with a New York Times reporter.

Give the gift of infinite wonders to our elders

Your gift of any amount will be sincerely appreciated, and serve to introduce the wonders and benefits of the world wide web to deserving seniors. Fill in any amount you wish, and click or touch the "Donate" button. You will be guided through next steps.


$
PayPal

These are just a few examples of the good your gift could do:

$5.99 covers the real cost of one downloaded app
$150 gets 10 older adults trained online!
$350 buys PC training for a senior center or library
$500 implements Spanish and English training at a senior center of library
$1000 trains 100 retirees to find and apply for jobs online

Thank you for your generosity.

Questions?
For additional information, please call Katie Burke at 215 222 6400.

Pictured above: Even after learning how to use their tablets fully, users appreciate being able to refer to the GoL app. In rural areas where distances are great, it is especially important to learn how to connect through FaceTime and email.

If you have any questions about our programs or practices, please contact:

Generations on Line Administration Center

3637 Chestnut Street

Philadelphia, PA 19104

215.222.6400

Katie Burke
 

Tobey Dichter, CEO

215.922.3244

 

Katie Burke, Administrator

215.222.6400

 

VJ Pappas, COO

215.222.6400

 

Michael H. Pierce, Director of Technology

267.997.3785

At a GoL Sip & Swipe Cafe® elders discover new skills and pursue their own interests on the World Wide Web. This gentleman, on his own, found the famous Mohammad Ali–Sonny Liston fight on YouTube in his first lesson!

Sip & Swipe Cafe®

A Sip & Swipe Cafe® can get older adults in your community connected online, using the simplest tool available — the tablet. Offered at locations that serve seniors, like retirement centers, assisted living centers, and public libraries, the Café program requires only a few web-enabled tablets, a volunteer coach, and perhaps some coffee or tea!

 

How it works

With step-by-step instuctions on every page, the GoL app guides elders with little or no online experience through the basic swiping, tapping, and voice recognition techniques required for interacting with a tablet device. Once these skills are mastered, seniors are led onto the Internet, set up with an email account, shown how to download and use apps, and introduced to popular websites. A volunteer coach from the host facility guides the learner as required, but much of the learning is self-paced.

Upon approval of its application, each Sip & Swipe Café host facility or organization will receive:
• Unlimited software license for the GoL App
• Support kit for volunteer coaches
• New learner tips, accomplishment checklists, and graduation certificates
• Unlimited telephone tech support
• Special pricing for bulk purchases of iPads

We encourage your organization to apply now!

Pictured above: Sip & Swipe Cafe® was developed by Generations on Line as a follow up to its successful computer training program for adults. Over the past 15 years, Generations on Line has helped more than 80,000 people age 65 and older understand and quickly begin using the Internet.
Download from Apple Store
Download from Play Store
Close