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To space and beyond… How digital learning unlocked a world of wonder

Written by Julianna Stewart, Communications Partner with integratedliving

From life without a mobile phone to mastering iPads, emails, apps, and space research, Maggie has come a very long way. 

Did you know there are two trillion galaxies in our universe? Gas planets 50 times the size of the sun? And more than 5,000 exoplanets beyond our solar system? 

When 76-year-old Maggie from New South Wales, learned how to use an iPad, she never envisaged that it would uncover a passion for space exploration and open up a whole new world of fascination, surprise and wonder. 

Just by logging onto an app every day, the New Lambton resident can view the latest images from the James Webb Telescope which orbits the sun, 1.5 million kilometres from earth. Here, Maggie loses herself in the magnitude of each day’s scientific discoveries. 

For someone who doesn’t have a mobile phone, didn’t know what an app was, and had never used social media, Maggie has travelled vast technological distances, too. 

“I used to work at Australia Post and we did use computers back then, but I only had to know how to use their system. I didn’t know how to do anything else,” Maggie recalls of her last employment 17 years ago. 

“I found I was getting to the stage where I couldn’t do anything because every business and service I interacted with wanted my mobile phone details or wanted to send me emails. I thought to myself ‘I’m going to have to catch up with all this stuff’.” 

Maggie enrolled in integratedliving’s Digital Dialogue program, a 14-week course teaching complete beginners how to use an iPad and access the internet. Maggie’s course was facilitated by integratedliving team member Rebecca Barnes, who connected with her online each week and taught her all the ins and outs of using technology. 

Maggie and Digital Support Officer Rebecca Barnes
Maggie using her iPad

“The first few lessons, I felt really lost,” Maggie said. “I didn’t know how I was ever going to get it.”

“I even cried on the shoulder of one of the staff at the Wellness Centre. But the staff were so patient with me, and so kind and understanding. They really helped me and took me through everything step by step. I’m also pretty determined, and I just said to myself ‘I’m going to get this.’”

It’s not surprising that Maggie’s resolve shone through. In the past two decades, she has undergone surgery for two brain tumours as well as surgery for breast cancer.

With that strength of spirit, she has now mastered the iPad, learned how to send and receive emails, how to take photographs and send them, download free apps, use Google maps, watch ABC TV on iView along with Stan and Netflix….and so much more!

“It’s just been wonderful,” Maggie said. “It’s opened up a whole new world to me. I wouldn’t know anything about space exploration if I hadn’t learnt how to use an iPad.”

And if Maggie could witness any world event to match her passion for space, what would it be?

“I’d love to see the next shuttle take off.”

Ready to connect and know more about the digital world with technology? Sign up for our Digital Dialogue program, or any of our Virtual Wellness Services, by calling our Customer Service Centre on 1300 782 896.

Find out more about our Virtual Wellness services