No, you’re not the only person on the planet who doesn’t know a hard drive from a gigabyte. If you’re looking to expand your professional horizons or join Facebook to keep tabs on the grandkids, New York City’s got a class for that. Computer classes are available throughout the five boroughs and many are free for people over a certain age (you’ve earned it, after all). Whether you’re looking to hone your skill on a specific program, learn how to code or understand the basics — starting with how to plug the thing in — here are some great computer classes for you to check out.
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New York City Parks & Recreation Centers
Computer Resource Centers based within the New York City Parks & Recreation Centers are open and free to recreation center members across New York City. The centers provide open computer lab access and instruction, led by full-time, trained coordinators. Applications are also accepted at the centers year-round for TechOpps, a certification program for those interested in becoming Microsoft Office Specialists or Adobe Certified Associates in Visual Communication, using Adobe Creative Cloud. Individuals accepted into the program are expected to devote 12-15 hours weekly for six to eight weeks. Membership fees to the New York City Parks & Recreation Centers, including full access to the Computer Resource Centers, range from $25 to $150, based upon age. Computer Resource Center locations can be found here.
Senior Planet NYC Exploration Center
127 W. 25th St.
New York, NY 10001
A wide range of fun, informative computer courses are provided free at these public computer centers for people aged 60 and up. The five and 10-week digital technology courses are taught quarterly and meet twice a week. The class schedule can be accessed online, but registration must be done in person. Course content is provided by OATS, New York City’s Department for the Aging Older Adults Technology Services, and includes offerings like Computer Basics for Older Adults, Creating Your Own Website, Etsy and E-Commerce for Entrepreneurs and Introduction to Digital Photography.
Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons
Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238
A technology hub designed to encourage group and individual work, the Commons includes a lab that offers classes, workshops and events. Classes are free and range from basic to sophisticated. A full schedule, updated monthly, can be accessed here and includes Adobe Illustrator for Beginners and Design Concepts for Beginners. Never Too Late To Learn (Kreyol) Computer Basics is geared toward older, Haitian-speaking adults and is typically scheduled monthly. Check the library’s information desk or online calendar for dates.
Queens Library Central Branch Cyber Center
89-11 Merrick Blvd.
Jamaica, Queens 11432
Free workshops in everything from Excel spreadsheets to Facebook and Twitter are provided at the Queens Library’s main branch, with schedules updated monthly. Basic computer skills are also taught at all community branches in the Queens Library system. Instruction on how to set up an email account, computer basics for older adults and workshops like Introduction to Word, Introduction to Emerging Technologies and Google Tips and Tricks are provided free of charge.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.