Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A little snow, and my Library Girls.......

Well, good morning to you all from a chilly Middle England. 


We (unexpectedly) had our first snowfall of winter on Saturday night. You know how you can check the weather app on our smart phones now? Well, I love checking what it is doing in all the places where I have loved ones, so it is a global feast of differences, and sure enough, approaching midnight on Saturday night, it said it was snowing  in Engelberg. Of course. It is winter in the Alps. Then I swiped to the side and got home, and it said it was SNOWING? What? I headed for the window, and sure enough, the white stuff was falling steadily. 

Such excitement. 

On Sunday morning, it looked very white and pretty and I popped out to take a few photos. Yes, I know. there is not that much, but we do enjoy having snow days! 

Anyway. I was going to tell you a little about my Friday afternoons. 

Somehow, I ended up volunteering to help people learn how to use iPads. I am sure I have mentioned this before. We have a wonderful librarian, with a talent for conversation, and the next thing you know, you are embarking on something different, without quite knowing how that happened. Caz is a star. 

So, I have had a group of ladies ranging in age from 40ish to 90something, meeting every Friday afternoon for well over a year, and I am not sure how much they gain in terms of knowledge, but we do have fun. There is a great deal of repetition, but that goes with saying, because I forget things too. 

The class got a little big, so I decided to split it in two, and this photo below is of the second class, which follows on after the first one each week. Two new ladies arrived last week, and so help me, a rapid introduction (for me) to the Kindle Fire and an Acer tablet ensued. I can do iPads, but other ones are a mystery, so there I was, typing in questions like "WHERE IS THE HOME PAGE" and "How do I find settings" into my iPad while frantically trying to keep everyone occupied, and appear as though I actually knew what I was doing. Actually, I just told them I didn't have a clue, but that we would Make A Plan. 

And we did. Sort of. Oy. I couldn't find the settings for ages, to connect the wifi. But we got there in the end, and I will have to check out a few more hows and whys before I can actually, you know, TEACH anything. They had fun chatting while I tried to appear intelligent. I had this same steep learning curb when one of the first class ladies arrived with a Samsung. I knew nothing. In fact, I remember messaging a friend, back then, who I knew had a Samsung and asking him to present himself at the library immediately to sort it out. He obliged, thank heavens.  

Class2 library girls

The week before, I had promised them all that we would do something exciting this last week. Something my mother reminded me of a couple of hours before we left for the library. I did have a plan, but I thought I would google "iPads for the older generation" to get some more ideas. My advanced class is slightly older than my newer class, which is made up of mothers and daughters. 


They need to come and visit my classes. 

The vast majority of the "Best" "Essential" apps suggested revolved around when to take medication, medical appointments, where is my phone, call centres for the housebound and such like. Oh, and the occasional solitaire game. 

No inspiration there then. 

My lot LOVE Pinterest, groupon, TED talks, travel sites, emails, iBooks etc. Some use Facebook and some don't. They bank on line, join communities on line, read the news on line, order their food on line, do shopping for everything on line, search out information, recipes etc on line and are NOT susceptible to scams, because we cover scams Every. Single. Lesson. 

They edit the photos they take, visit comparison websites, and are old hands at Skype and FaceTime. Well, some of them are. Some are just realising they have access to them for the first time, but they are the newer ones. We are all about discovering the delights of technology. And of playing with the grandchildren at their own games too. In fact, now and then, my Library Girls surprise their own families. 

Somehow, the world seems to think that older people are techno-idiots. I am here to say they most certainly are not. In fact they are whizz kids. The oldest lady in the class is in her 90s, and is the quickest of the lot. Super bright. Not afraid to try, and super inquisitive. She is a delight. 

They all are. Mum comes along as well now and is loving Pinterest. She uses messages and FaceTime, email, Flickr and Skype quite happily too. They are not in the slightest bit interested in their medication reminders or such like. They want to have fun. (They do, however, all LOVE Spider. Aka Solitaire.)

The (iPad) Tablet revolution is just that. Tablets have revolutionised access to the Internet and been a huge game-changer for everyone, especially older people. And that will just increase as they become more accessible, affordable and people become more proficient. They can adjust fonts and lighting, they can still read books long after the actual book becomes impossible to decipher. So very many good points. I just LOVE mine. 

So what did we do last Friday? 

We opened Google Earth, selected places from their past, and set out to search them on street view. I cannot tell you how much fun was had by all, wandering down long forgotten streets, twirling around, visiting places which have changed so much over decades. Places of birth. Primary schools. Honeymoons. Far away places from long ago memories. The laughter was wonderful. The hour flew by, and they left to go and hunt out more treasures at home. 

Simple things. 

We talked about making 5 minute videos for our grandchildren, talking about memories, using bits and pieces to illustrate our memories. Like photos. Priceless. Our oldest lady used to clean tanks in the war, and those really were her glory days. They defined every part of who she became subsequently. I want to hear her story. She seems to be considering it. I have shown them how easy it is. Now we wait at see, with a little - a lot - more encouragement. We may start our own YouTube channel. Who knows. 

Snowy Harrington

Some Fridays, I remember I have my classes and may feel a little tired before I go to that library, you know. It is a temporary feeling, because the moment I arrive and get chatting, I am totally filled with energy and it all comes from them. They are such fun. I forget me, and just enjoy them. 

I do think however, that I need to write a more realistic list of apps I would suggest for "the older generation". And what the heck is the older generation anyway? Over 100? We have stuff to do and things to experience, remember! 


Needled Mom said...

Oh Linds....that is fabulous. The world must seem like such a foreign place to those who do not know how to use their tablets/computers. Everything seems geared for technology these days. I think it is marvelous that you are doing this and I love that they are all enjoying it so much. I would be terrified to teach a class like that while having to learn all of the different tablets out there. Just remember .... it's great for your brain too!!!!

Beautiful wintery scene there!

Chris said...

I love this!

You always come up with something new and exciting to do. I am green with envy, stuck at my desk at work.

Vee said...

This sounds like great fun. I am olden and, believe me, I am numb as a stump. I don't do Skype nor any of those other things. I don't think I want to. Oh, right. I am also a stick in the mud. Not you, Linds! The photo of the sheep in snow is wonderful and so Britain!

Susan said...

Linds, this is a great thing you are doing, and sounds like you're having fun, too!

I absolutely love the sheep photo :)

Jee said...

I've used computers all my adult life - literally. The first ones were the size of a chest of drawers and had a hard disk in a separate room. When you had problems you took the chips out and bent the legs to make them work! I recently bought a tablet for a good friend and it's transformed her life, especially as her son was confident she wouldn't be able to master it and now has to eat humble pie. Needless to say, I don't suffer the young men in computer stores very gladly when they think I'm a batty old dear who hasn't a clue.
Your classes sound great.

Kathryn said...

I love iPads! So much fun to be had with them. A couple of apps I particularly enjoy that you didn't mention are Flipboard and Day One. Flipboard allows you to tailor your own online magazines by "flipping" articles into them, or to read curated flipboards. The pages even flip graphically. Day One is a nice diary app, easy to use and very visual. Oh, and Paprika! Wonderful for recipes and menu planning.

Olson Family said...

I love this post! I think the best part is the joy the ladies are taking in the technology - the medicine reminders can wait! Until they can't :).