Teaching Seniors Technology

Thank you to everyone who attended the NEO-RLS webinar on Teaching Seniors Technology!  I really enjoyed talking with all of you and sharing ideas.

Below is the supplemental information I promised during the webinar today:


Seniors Learning Technology from Caring.com

Helping Seniors Learn New Technology from The New York Times

Old Brains Learning New Things by Simply Seniors

Why Old People Have a Hard Time Learning New Things by Embrace Possibility

Older Adults and Technology Use by Pew Research Center

Designing for the Elderly:  Ways Older People Use Digital Technology Differently by Smashing Magazine

Summary of Some Ways RRPL Makes Classes More Senior Friendly

  • Make them comfortable coming to class.  During registration, give directions be enthusiastic.  Make reminder calls and tell them what they need to bring (login and password, fully-charged device, sweater, etc.).  Greet them at the door and have music playing.  Give them “permission” to take classes more than once.
  • Talk to them.  Why are they coming to class?  What are their interests?
  • Counter negative thoughts about tech and be a cheerleader for it.
  • Be prepared to handle their limitations.  Where will you place wheelchairs, walkers, canes, and helper dogs?  Stock roller-ball mice and touch screens.  Use comfortable chairs.  Talk loudly.  Use large fonts on screens, PowerPoints, and handouts.  Use detailed verbal queues along with pointing to the screen.
  • Add fun to the class.  Smile and use humor.  Make light of your own mistakes. Take a break in the middle of class.  Use their interests (health, travel, family, etc.) for events and in-class examples.
  • Give them notes to take home.  Step-by-step handouts.  Give them activities to try on their own.

Accelerated Learning

What is Accelerated Learning?

What is Accellerated Learning? by AL Center

Book: The Accelerated Learning Handbook by Dave Meier

AL Activities Used at RRPL

  • Family Tree of Android Manufacturers (Groups worked together to come up with Brands, write them on leaves, and add them to the tree.)
  • Timeline of Technology (Groups worked together to guess what years technology events happened and added them to a timeline.)
  • Jeopardy Game (Used to summarize a week long “tech camp.”
  • Trivia Games (Groups compete for prizes.  They love candy bars as prizes.)
  • Google Train (To summarize what they know about Google, groups created train cars with different Google products.)
  • Streaming Balls (To show how streaming works, passed balls through the crowd at different rates.)
  • Candy (Candy is not only used for prizes, but also as incentive to participate.)
  • Hands-on classes are more difficult to use AL activities due to the nature of imparting knowledge upon the students.  The way we incorporate AL into the hands-on classes is to ask more questions and incorporate interests.  “How do we make the word “flag” bold?  This also encourages students that know more to participate in class.  Instead of telling the class that we are going to go to Google and search for “Birds,” ask the class what they would like to use for searching.

AL Resources

Book:  Telling Ain’t Training

Book:  The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning

Book:  Creative Learning: Activities and Games That REALLY Engage People

Resource: 5 most useful free online sources for training activities by Delivery Matters (Even though many resources do not specifically address technology training, I find they are helpful in giving us ideas.)





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