New Microsoft Video Takes Mystery Out of Computing for Older Adults

REDMOND, Wash., May 5, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of a new educational video that introduces older adults to the basic operation of computers. The company plans to distribute 10,000 copies of the video, free of charge, to nonprofit community organizations throughout the world.

The video,
“Opening New Windows on the World: An Introduction to Computers and the Internet,”
is part of Microsoft’s worldwide initiative to ensure that seniors realize the exciting possibilities that computers provide and that they have the skills necessary to benefit from technology.

“Today’s seniors have watched the technological revolution unfold in front of their eyes, but many are still unaware of the benefits computers can provide them,” said Craig Spiezle, director of the Microsoft® Senior Initiative.
“With so much life experience to offer, seniors simply can’t be ignored or left behind when it comes to technology.”

According to research conducted by Microsoft, in conjunction with the American Society on Aging, only 24 percent of seniors aged 60 and over use technology, compared with 50 percent of the rest of the population. To bridge this digital and generational divide, Microsoft has been working closely with nonprofit and community organizations, government agencies, public libraries, high schools and colleges to develop programs to introduce older adults to technology. As a result of its efforts, Microsoft realized there was a need to create a tool that educated seniors about computers and how they can enhance people’s lives.

Leading nonprofit organizations that have been working with Microsoft are welcoming the release of this video and have pledged their commitment to share this learning tool with their members.

“One of the biggest challenges we face in training older adults is that much of the existing instructional material isn’t geared to true beginners,”
said Ann Wrixon, executive director of SeniorNet, a nonprofit organization that provides computer and Internet training for older adults.
“The great thing about this video is that it walks you through the basics of computers that many of us take for granted, such as icons, pointing and clicking, and even how to use a mouse.”

The 45-minute instructional video is specifically designed for older adults who have never used a computer. In an easy-to-understand format, it takes the mystery out of the Internet and explains the components and functions of a computer. In addition, it demonstrates how older adults can use technology to explore new interests, make informed decisions, communicate with family and friends via e-mail, and enhance their employability.

“It’s important for seniors to understand how computer training can make them more marketable. Once older adults learn about computers, they soon come to realize what many of us already know, that computer skills are essential for competing in today’s changing work force,”
Spiezle said.

The video also provides information about where older adults can go to learn more about computers, including community colleges.
“Many seniors are coming through our doors eager to learn about computers and to understand what they can do for them,”
said Lynn Barnett, director of academic, student and community development for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
“This video will be an important first step in helping orient them to computers and computer terminology.”

Microsoft timed the release of the video to coincide with Older Americans Month, a celebration of the accomplishments of the nation’s seniors. The video was created in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), the American Association of Services and Homes for the Aging (AASHA), the American Society on Aging (ASA), the International Federation on Ageing (IFA), the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) and SeniorNet. It features Richard Anderson, star of the 70s hit television shows
“The Six Million Dollar Man”
“The Bionic Woman.”

In addition to the video, Microsoft will provide organizations with a seminar guide and reference materials to use when presenting the video to their members.

The Microsoft Senior Initiative is a program aimed at bridging the digital and generational divides and ensuring that seniors are not left behind on the information superhighway. By providing access to information technology and PC literacy training, the Microsoft Senior Initiative introduces the exciting possibilities of technology to senior citizens. The Seniors and Technology Web site ( is a resource for seniors, their families and communities about the exciting possibilities that can be realized through the use of technology. Interested nonprofit organizations can obtain more information about the video or a copy of the video at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and

personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: For information about the Microsoft Senior Initiative, please visit the Microsoft Senior Initiative Web site at For additional information about Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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