San Diego Oasis hosts 8th annual tech fair in new virtual format

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Older adults eager to learn more about technology can now do so from the comfort of their homes during the free San Diego Oasis virtual tech fair this week.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Oasis has shifted its fitness and educational classes for those 50 and older to online formats, allowing the nonprofit to gain students from across the country and around the world. The eighth annual tech fair will also be held over the Zoom video chat platform so students can learn to incorporate technology into their day-to-day lives without the risk of contracting the novel coronavirus at an in-person event.

Instead of a one-day fair, this year’s event will be over the course of four days from Tuesday, Oct. 20 to Friday, Oct. 23. Each day will focus on a different subcategory of technology, which includes every day tech, healthcare, smart home devices and online security.

Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs will open the first day of the fair by discussing how he started his successful technology company after turning 50, said Simona Valanciute, Oasis president and CEO.

A 2019 study from the Pew Research Center found that Americans 60 and older had increased their screen time by 27 minutes on average between 2005 and 2015. That coincided with another finding that there had been a significant increase for those 65 and older, from 14 percent in 2000 to 73 percent in 2019.

Mastering technology like smart home devices is one way older adults can remain in independent in their homes longer, which Valanciute said is one of the top concerns among the demographic.

“Every research study comes back that older adults want to be supported to age independently, they want to age in place,” she said.

While last year’s event had a maximum capacity of 1,000 attendees, hosting the event online means as many as 50,000 students from around the world can attend.

“Anybody who speaks English and is a senior in the world is invited to be part of that 50,000 attendee list for the first time ever,” Valanciute said.

Clairemont resident David Dooley has taken classes at San Diego Oasis since 2015 and attended last year’s tech fair. The 72-year-old, who has participated in online courses throughout the pandemic, said he’s looking forward to learning how to use and benefit from cloud computing services during the event next week.

“Because we’re all living so much longer these days, it’s really important that everyone remains in as good health as they can because we have to do it for a longer period of time,” Dooley said. “Oasis is a great resource for San Diego in providing an opportunity for people to do that.”

To register for the free tech, view the full schedule of events or find out more about San Diego Oasis, visit www.SanDiegoOasis.org or call (619) 881-6262.



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