Seniors and Technology

Dec 07

Everyone has a different learning style. But what gets me is the people that don’t seem to know how to learn about new devices whether it be a new computer, reader, tablet or smartphone. These are people who have been in careers needing smarts. Where is their curiosity? I know highly skilled people in crafts, sewing, bridge, woodworking, you name the hobby, they can do it. But when it comes to an electronic device, they feel overwhelmed and don’t seem to want to try. They want to have their hand held and be shown everything step-by-step. How do they expect to learn how to use it.

Part of my reaction above is the many requests I get to help people. I do like tutoring and helping but I do not have enough time for the personal 1:1 that is required. I steer people to video tutorials on YouTube but some folks can’t do that. I feel for the folks who get off to a good start and can do some basics but if the computer acts up and a new message comes on the screen that they haven’t seen before, they get frustrated and stop. I don’t blame them. I get frustrated too sometimes when I have to troubleshoot.

It seems to be the fear of technology that is holding some people back. I am not talking about the poor design and physical limitations people may have to use some devices. Granted the design of devices and software is not necessarily user friendly for many older people. The iPad is great but if you have a hand tremor, it is hard to use. You do need good eyes to use a smartphone, and arthritic hands make using a keyboard difficult. I am not the only one who has noticed this. AARP has weighed in with an article  on Seniors and Technology.

The children mean well passing along their older phone, computer or iPad, but they don’t spend the time with the one-to-one help that is needed. The gift that children and grandchildren can give is their time and patience with technology. Forgot about more “stuff.” Sit beside the learner and coach them through email, YouTube, how to download an App, etc. Let them do it and be very, very patient.

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Lifelong Learning

Oct 30

LearningIt’s been a week of juggling projects for the Blogging class, the Apple User Group, and the Residents’ Council. I feel like I am working again. That’s not a complaint.

The hours and days fly by. I keep up with the Apple product changes using videos and message boards.

It is amazing what you can find to help with your technology questions by using a search engine. I have been a big Google fan but now I am using the DuckDuckGo which does not track your website use.

My go-to sites for new users are:

 

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Do I Dare?

Sep 24

logoIn another week, I will be teaching a 4-week class on Blogging for Beginners for our Elderhostel Lifelong Learning Institute (ELLIC) program. Is this a joke? No! Even though, I am not posting 3 – 5 times a week like some folks, I know the mechanics, and I am a good teacher.

My passion is to help people learn about the technology they use or want to use. I get questions all the time as the leader of the Apple Charlestown User Group.

  • How do I do change settings on my iPad?
  • How to I use Evernote? My professor says I am supposed to use it, (that was a FaceTime chat with a friend in St. Paul).
  • Should I get a Kindle or an iPad?
  • My new Gmail account isn’t sending my emails.

Many times, I do know the answer, but Google is also my friend for getting answers.

When I reflect on my blogging history, it started in 2003. I set up a Blogger account to write about our travel adventures with our new class B camper. That Blogger site is still available at GTRV Westy Travels. I stopped writing on Blogger when we sold the camper in July 2007.

My next effort was this self-hosted WordPress blog that I started in August 2008. Not content to use a standard theme, I picked the Atahualpa theme with over 200 customizable options. What a learning curve! I tried to use a large font for readability.

I started working with the Georgia Houston Peach branch of  AAUW website to send content changes to the web designer, the daughter of a member. I was interested in getting under the hood, so I took an online class, the Fundamentals of HTML,  at the Middle Georgia Technical College in Warner Robins, GA.

I wasn’t able to make changes to the mechanics of the AAUW website, but I knew enough HTML to be able to add text between the code. In April 2008, I was asked to review the state AAUW website and make recommendations. That is when I discovered WordPress.org. When the state Board approved moving the out-of date-website to a WordPress platform, I volunteered to do it. Again, a learning curve but I really enjoyed learning. I converted the branch website to WordPress in April 2009. When the national association developed a WordPress platform for branch sites in 201, I encouraged both the state and branch to move the national platform.

As I write this, I realize I have spent hours working with WordPress. I was even hired by the Atlanta branch to develop their website on the WordPress platform. I then worked with their webmaster as he learned how to work with the platform.

Now I work with the Charlestown Residents’ Council website helping tweak the organization and content. The web developer is moving the site to WordPress this fall so we can do the updates as needed rather than sending emails back and forth.

I realize I have been blogging for over 11 years. Yes, I do dare!

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Charlestown Apple Users

Jun 25

I missed my involvement in an Apple User Group so I figure why not start an Apple User Group here at Charlestown. I love all things Apple and I have been getting requests from folks to help them. I have been mentioning I use an iPad and iMac and the frustration comes out.

“I got a new iPad for Christmas, but I don’t know how to use it.” “I can’t get my email set up on my new MacBook.”

It was an easy process to get it going. Mary Evans, the Community Resources Manager gave us the go ahead. we got the Card Room in the new Charlestown Square building to use for the meeting. There is a big flat screen TV that I hook the iPad or MacBook to using a HDMI cable. So far we have had meetings for the iPad one month and Macs the next month. I am going to take July and August off as many other groups do also. It didn’t take long for 50 meeting to sign up for the new user group. We are officially registered with Apple as a User Group. There is a closed Google Group message board and a Website. The official name is the Apple Charlestown User Group or CHUG.

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Hot, Hot, Hot

Jun 25

It’s been over 94 since May 21 and this is only June. We took a road trip to Baltimore hoping it would be cooler (it was—86 for a few days). It will be a long hot summer. The only thing you can do is use your silver windshield screen, drink lots of water, and be very grateful that you don’t have to work outdoors.

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Too Much Like Work

Aug 25

It seems like this past month has been a blur of projects, setting up a WordPress website, setting up a  AAUW Georgia Facebook Page, updates to websites and Facebook for two organizations, web conference, and research for a social media task force. As I said to Dan, “It seems like I am working!”

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