Many senior citizens view computers and related technology as daunting and intimidating. These seniors are apprehensive and feel they'll never learn to use a computer. However, if you're patient and break the technology into small pieces of information, you should be able to show senior citizens how the use of computers can make their lives a little easier. Be persistent in order to overcome the distrust your students might have for new technology.
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Be patient. Remember that senior citizens often learn slowly and take extra time to process new information. They might struggle to remember certain tasks or retain what you have taught. If you have an individual who shows promise and is learning quickly, even he might become frustrated easily. Repetition is an important part of teaching senior citizens, so do not show any anger or become flustered if an individual does not understand right away.
Show individualised attention. Senior citizens will undoubtedly have many questions so do your best to anticipate any comments or concerns that might arise ahead of time. An individual might be too embarrassed or flustered to ask you himself.
Illustrate certain tasks that can be accomplished. Show senior citizens how using a computer can help them with their everyday life. Guide them so they learn how to pay their bills or communicate with relatives. Help them research recipes or golf tips, or any other pertinent information that applies to their hobbies and interests. An extra incentive will give them another reason to learn this new technology.
Become familiar with each individual's background. Some senior citizens may already have a basic understanding of computers. They might have taught themselves or had a grandchild or other family member show them. With others, you might be starting from the beginning.
Make sure your students are comfortable. Senior citizens need breaks often or may become uncomfortable sitting in one position for long periods of time.
Start with the basics. Remember to speak carefully, slowly and clearly. Be careful not to condescend or insult an individual's intelligence, but beginning with the basics is often a good path to choose.
Take an old computer apart. You might have some individuals who are interested in how a computer works, so point out the memory card, hard drive, processor, and video cards. Explain, in simple terms, what each piece is used for. Teach them how to plug in the keyboard and mouse. Show them how to turn the computer and the monitor on.
Teach around their goals. Ask them what they want to use the computer for and structure your lessons based on their interests. If an individual wants to use the computer for the Internet, show him how to turn on the computer, access the web browser and use a search engine. If someone would like to use a word processing system to write letters, open the software and show him how to save and print his work. Teach senior citizens how to use Microsoft Excel in order to keep track of their spending and budget. Keep the individual's goal in mind and focus on the big picture, rather than every little aspect of the computer.
End your lesson by telling them they should try to access a computer at least a couple times a week in order to keep practicing and retain what they have learnt. Make sure you provide a list of all commands, functions and programs you have shown them so they can practice.
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