What topics would you teach retired senior citizens during computer class?

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
What topics would you teach retired senior citizens during computer class?

I finally got a break two weeks ago when I landed a computer training gig teacher basic computer stuff to retired senior citizens (average age is about 70 years old). I figured that in order to break the monotony of computer training I'm thinking about throwing in interesting web sites/computer related topics as part of what I'm going to teach these elderly folks.

What do you think would be a good topics that my training audience would find most interesting? I'm thinking about sites like WEBMD, different exercise routines --- wow I just ran out of ideas. Haha!

Any recommendations? Thanks in advance for your input.
 
May not be interesting to them, but I think teaching Netiquette should be on the top of the list (namely for Usenet). I would also show them the powers of Google.
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
May not be interesting to them, but I think teaching Netiquette should be on the top of the list (namely for Usenet). I would also show them the powers of Google.

Ahh good one good one! How could I have missed Netiquette? Is there any great site for Netiquette training?



 

Merick

Diabloii.Net Member
Basic installation of programs.
How to use bookmarks, web searching, other web stuff.
How to play solitare, trust me, they'll love it.
General move, delete, copy, paste functions.
Saving files and finding them later.
 

Lord Nyax

Banned
Screw that. First ten minutes just dive straight into hard core C++ syntax. They'll all leave, and you can be happy again!

Failing that...personally, I'd teach them how to use Windows. Old people like pretty colors, and Windows has that in spades. Teach 'em their way around the Control Panel, maybe try to explain a bit of how the stuff actually works. One bit of advice: don't try and wing it. Have little pictures or explanations handy...

-----888-----
:thumbsup:​
 

Lord Nyax

Banned
Screw that. First ten minutes just dive straight into hard core C++ syntax. They'll all leave, and you can be happy again!

Failing that...personally, I'd teach them how to use Windows. Old people like pretty colors, and Windows has that in spades. Teach 'em their way around the Control Panel, maybe try to explain a bit of how the stuff actually works. One bit of advice: don't try and wing it. Have little pictures or explanations handy...

-----888-----
:thumbsup:​
Okay, maybe the wrong place to post this, but how do I now have 887 posts? Bad forums, bad! :cry: I was so excited...and then I look again and I'm sad...



 

Quietus

Diabloii.Net Member
The simple things. Simple, simple, simple! They've already been mentioned, but they're worth re-mentioning for how important they are :

Merick said:
Basic installation of programs.
How to use bookmarks, web searching, other web stuff.
How to play solitare, trust me, they'll love it.
General move, delete, copy, paste functions.
Saving files and finding them later.
Also, help files. Show them how to find their own assistance. Those that really want to learn to use computers will find help files to be incredibly useful, and they can teach themselves beyond the scope of anything you show them. But overall, if you show them those things above, and if they're still interested, go into help files and control panel, you'll make a lot of people's lives easier. Theirs, since they'll understand what those crazy kids are talking about these days, and those of the people on the other end of the phone when they call their internet service people. Nothing would be so great as to get that disheartening feeling of "Oh no, it's an old person..." only to have them be competent when you ask them to go into their control panel, open their hardware profiles, and do this that and the other thing. I know computer literate people in their early twenties who can't do this, and it's frustrating.

Only after they have a strong grasp of the basics should you go into Netiquette. Once you've covered that (or perhaps at the same time) teach them internet slang (otherwise u r gona have sum crazy old ppl wondering wtf ppl are sayin), and how to send an email. Explain that they can use email to remain in touch with their families... ALWAYS try to relate anything you teach back to something close to them, if you can. Knowing that they can chat with their family for free is a wonderful thing, and I'm sure it would be appreciated - but make sure they have a good grasp on the basics first.
 

bladesyz

Diabloii.Net Member
How about internet security? Things like how to protect your personal information online, and how to spot phishing (and other) scams?

A lot of senior citizens are targetted by these things.
 

Sokar Rostau

Diabloii.Net Member
I think you need to maybe think about stereotypes before you go into this. Not saying you are doing this, just something to be aware of. Old people are old, not stupid and helpless. In my experience they don't like condescending youngins and usually know a lot more than they realise about new things. I think you should maybe spend the first class getting to know them - their wants, needs and experiences.

I have seen both extremes in teaching. I have seen a 33 year old woman that couldn't use a keyboard (couldn't locate the enter key etc... ) and didn't understand a mouse. I have also seen an 85 year old woman complain that she was a university professor and doesn't like being treated like a hapless fool. If you have both in your class you are going to have to find a balance and this is why you need to get to know them. All you need to do is let them know that computers are very simple to use and that they are unlikely to destroy one by clicking on the wrong button.

Another reason to get to know your students is that you can tailor Google to them. It would be condescending to think that just because they are over 70 they are all interested in gardening and crochet. If a lot of them remember watching I Love Lucy back in the fifties, you can find an I Love Lucy site... know what I mean? Or maybe something to do with the Apollo moon landings. James Dean or Buddy Holly fansites would also be good things. Just remember that 70 year olds of today were in their teens and early twenties in the fifties and early sixties so stay away from things like WWII because most of them were probably children at the time. People tend to identify more with things from early adulthood than with childhood.

Wikipedia will be a good site for you to use because you can tell them all to type in their favourite subject in the search box and they are likely to get a page... do that on google and you can end up anywhere.

Many retirees are also interested in learning so maybe sites like sacred-texts.com, for example, will be useful or some of the University sites that have lots of info on particular subjects rather than just student oriented stuff. IIRC UPenn has a lot of history stuff and Oxford has a digital version of their library. You could also show them GoogleEarth and the NASA website (and space.com).

Don't forget games as well. I have recently been playing Unification Wars which is a free browser space empire game and there are quite a few grandparents on there. It's very simple and easy to pick up. It also has an extremely over moderated chat so it's not full of kiddies screaming in 1337. Speaking of 1337, you should probably mention that too.

In short, let them guide the class. It's far better to have one or two people fall behind than to hold the whole class back. You can always give extra help to the slow ones.
 
To not download and install things from online, no matter how cute that little purple guy is.

Not to read email if they don't know where it's from.

That hot sexy college girls are really just a fat creepier version of yourself.

Basic things in word like copy and paste.

Basic searching on Google(focus on key terms and not using sentences, what happens when you use quotes etc.)

How to use Yahoo mail. Try walking them through the sign up as well.

How to restart in case of a lock up.


Don't worry about netiquette, these people won't be surfing forums. They will be emailing grandkids and friends. They may want to write a letter in Word or something like that, but anything that requires sign up online is probably out of the question(that is why I said walk them through the sign up process of Yahoo).

Make sure they take notes, it will be a good chance to use Word. I would also have an outline of the basic things you cover in class that day, that way they can take notes.

Most importantly make sure to go twice as slow as you think you do, I know healthy 17 year olds that couldn't sign up on a forum if I asked them to much less redo their network settings to work with the new router.

Typing! Make sure you go over typing.


How long is the class anyway? How many weeks? Class times?
 

raffster

Diabloii.Net Member
How long is the class anyway? How many weeks? Class times?
Very interesting stuff guys and gals. Thanks much.

This is the schedule I have for now:

Tuesday: 9:30 - 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 3-4 PM
Thursday: 9:30 - 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, 3-4 PM, 4-5 PM

Each class consists of about 12-15 senior citizens.

Wikipedia is a great idea.



 

Dondrei

Diabloii.Net Member
Also warn them about Youtube and Myspace; they're full of sad lamewads. Although buried under all those god-awful anime music videos there are some neat things on Youtube. Like pirated music videos.
 
Don't worry about netiquette, these people won't be surfing forums. They will be emailing grandkids and friends. They may want to write a letter in Word or something like that, but anything that requires sign up online is probably out of the question(that is why I said walk them through the sign up process of Yahoo).
I wasn't talking about forums, I was talking about Usenet. Apparently you haven't seen what's happened to the groups since google groups came about. Always teach netiquette.



 

Ariadne

Diabloii.Net Member
Photo editing and related things to that.
Few "older" people have got a clue what to do with a computer except for writing the occassional mail to relatives, but as soon as grandchildren come in sight, which is often the case, they start using digital camera's and they might be interested in how to improve their pics, send their pics, print 'm, make cards or anything with it, etc.
 
Where the power button is 101
Plugging it in 101
CD trays are not a cup holder 101
What "Press any key" means 101
Enter and Return are the same key 101
Listen to me dammit 101
 
Top