Tea and Tablet Scottish Borders Council

The Gathering 2018

Scottish Borders Council

  • From 20th April 2015 to 31st March 2016
  • Award: £4,163 via Call 2

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Project plan

Project description

‘Tea and Tablet’ is an introduction to IT which will equip learners with basic IT skills and knowledge of how to browse the web safely and use the web learn how to use the internet to benefit their day to day lives (for example, sending emails, applying for jobs, keep in touch with relatives and friends etc.). Tea and Tablet will be delivered by a CLD tutor four times during 2015/16 in 6 week blocks. The tablets and smartboard can also be used by other community groups using Philiphaugh Community Centre.



After some difficulties in starting Tea and Tablet, the equipment has been purchased and the programme is now up and running. On Monday afternoons, a group of six adults have been meeting to learn the basics of using a laptop as well as a tablet. The motivation for the individuals in the group to learn about IT and how to use a laptop/tablet, is staying in touch with family and friends and being able to access a wide range of information including what’s on locally.

Many had never used a computer before and although some have tablets they are not confident about using them. The 14th is the last session with this group then we will evaluate with them to find out what their learning has been and what impact this learning will have on their day to day lives.

The learners really enjoyed using the tablets and learning about the different settings. They have all said they feel more confident about using the internet and would like to continue using the internet at home.

The next Tea and Tablet group will start in February 2016.

Another group have nearly finished the Tea and Tablet course. They have really enjoyed learning how to get online using a tablet. We are now talking with one of the local libraries to discuss how we can support learners to access the next level of IT support once they have completed the Tea and Tablet programme.

It took longer than we hoped to start delivering Tea and Tablet IT courses due to a number of obstacles we had to overcome in the setting up of the project. We have however now delivered three Tea and Tablet courses and have another one planned for April/May 2016.

Laptops were used in the first Tea and Tablet course and tablets in the second two courses. In total we have delivered 20 weeks of Tea and Tablet and 12 learners have benefited.

It was the intention of this course to improve life chances of people of all ages through learning, personal development and active citizenship. The learning was also designed to meet CLD National Outcome 3 - we are better educated, more skilled and more successful.

We hoped learners would feel empowered to use ICT, to demonstrate how they can use ICT to benefit their everyday life and also describe how they can use the internet safely.

To achieve these outcomes a CLD IT tutor delivered Tea and Tablet as a six week programme with two hour weekly sessions. Local services were asked to promote the opportunity to learners they work with and information was also circulated in the local press. Tea and Tablet was delivered in the local community centre. Learners were able to connect to the Wi-Fi there and could work in a space where they wouldn’t be disturbed by any other centre users.

Learners evaluated their progress at the end of the programme by reflecting on how capable they felt about completing certain tasks. We included both IT skills and literacy skills in this evaluation. Nearly all learners reported feeling more confident about their IT, literacy and communication skills. However, two learners identified that they still did not feel confident about using a computer/tablet at the end of the programme. All learners said they would continue to use a computer/tablet/smartphone and identified keeping in touch with people, shopping online, everyday living, part time work and pleasure as their reasons for doing so.

A number of learners from outwith Selkirk expressed an interest in attending the Tea and Tablet course. The number of IT classes being delivered using tablets is growing but it is obviously not meeting demand. We had to try and juggle allocation of spaces so that we were meeting need in Selkirk as well as accommodating people living in rural areas who do not have a local class they can attend. People were willing to travel a 34 mile round trip to attend the class confirming there is a need in Scottish Borders for increased IT support and that until people do receive this support, they may well be living in digital isolation.

Some of the learners who attended the course already had tablets due to a family member purchasing one for them but they did not know how to use them.

Things that worked well:

Feedback from CLD IT tutor:
“I’ve been giving a short set of lessons using android tablets at Philiphaugh Community Centre. I find the tablets to be quite user-friendly and the learners tend to pick up techniques quite quickly. Having tablets encourages my learners to interact with each other more than when laptops are used, which serves to create a friendlier atmosphere. I think the tablets are a less formal medium than laptops and consequently that makes the class more open to new learners. I can see people, especially older people, using tablets more for personal and social applications in future and so giving lessons on tablets is likely to be something I will look to do more often”.

Many learners asked if they could come back for the next programme in order to continue their learning which suggests that they found the sessions to be of benefit to them and that they felt encouraged that they could learn the skills needed to use a tablet and go online.

Things that we would do differently next time:

Selkirk has an older population (as has the Scottish Borders in general) and most people who attended the course were of retirement age. We did not manage to engage with working age adults, especially males who are unemployed which we hoped we would do. Next time we will ask for support of the job centre in promoting this learning opportunity to those using their services.

We have had conversations with Library services about how we can work together to offer continued IT support to learners. Library services are about to go into Trust but what we hope to offer is the six week Tea and Tablet programme through CLD then direct learners to their local library two/three weeks after the end of the programme to help them troubleshoot any problems they may be experiencing. We hope this will help maintain the learner’s confidence about using IT if they do experience any problems.

Our digital work is delivered in partnership with: