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Old 01-30-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
faithbw
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Teaching the iPad to Seniors

I'm currently doing an internship at a public library and for a project, I'm going to teach seniors basic computer skills as well as how to use mobile tech like the iPad. So, TBH, I don't have much experience with iPads or the current version of iOS. The library has an iPad 3 as part of their "Mobile Petting Zoo" and I played around with it today to get a feel for the iPad and iOS 7. Now, most of it was pretty intuitive to me but that's just me. I know that for a lot of middle aged and older people, iPads and the like aren't so intuitive. What do you think are some things that people with little tech experience absolutely should be taught in order to use an iPad? There are obvious things such as how to turn it on, how to put it into sleep mode, putting a passcode on it, how to connect it to a wifi network, how to listen to music, how to open and read e-mail and how to open Safari. I don't want to overload people with too much info and I will also have to cover other tablets such as the Kinde Fire and an Android tablet. So would that be enough or should there be more?
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Old 01-30-2014, 06:52 PM   #2
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Being a senior myself, albeit tech savvy, I think the main thing to teach them is to not be afraid of it. If they have young (5 - 8) grandchildren, one way to do this is to combine the grandchild with the grandparent and encourage them to teach each other, especially since you already have that "mobile petting zoo". The kids will not be afraid to try stuff and the grandparents will enjoy interacting with them and want to learn enough to stay ahead of their grandchild.

Another thing might to introduce them to Facetime on the iPad, or Tango on the Android or IOS. It's a way for families that are far apart to see & talk to each other. BTW there is a "Facetime for PC" app. look here. So they can do Facetime with a PC to/from an IOS device.

Last edited by slayda; 01-30-2014 at 07:01 PM.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:13 PM   #3
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There are OS features that need to be covered. How to leave an App. How to get to the home screen and all the other screens. How to switch between two running apps. How to kill a running app. How to actually turn off the unit and what to expect when you turn it back on. How to place your icons into folders. how to get apps onto the unit. How to find apps. What an app is. How to load music and eBooks onto the unit. How a cloud works.

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Old 01-30-2014, 07:36 PM   #4
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My MIL was really excited when I showed her the gestures to close an app and switch apps. I'd also suggest covering: how to take a photo, sharing photos, deleting photos, taking a screen shot, switch camera between taking stills and videos--that had my mom stumped.

I guess you're also going to teach them how to get their music, photos, books, etc. on there.
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Old 01-30-2014, 07:38 PM   #5
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One recurring comment I always hear when trying to teach seniors any kind of tech is "Can I break it? I don't want to break it" - in addition to the fear of tech, is the fear of breaking an expensive gadget .... it's important to reassure them that a wrong tap won't do irreparable harm to the tablet. Seniors often wait for instructions, rather than experimenting or exploring new tech ...slayda's suggestion of incorporating kids can be helpful
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:06 PM   #6
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You could ask your class how likely children would be to play with it - and if any plan to share it with grandchildren (or even there own, if they were late to parenthood) teach them how to set up parental controls.

I've read some horror stories about children buying games and game add-ins without a parent's understanding of what they were doing.
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Old 01-31-2014, 11:06 AM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas thus far! They have definitely made me think of things that didn't occur to me before.
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Old 02-01-2014, 01:40 AM   #8
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I always used to start by showing how to use the solitaire app. Most loved that. And in playing something familiar to most of them, they learn how hard to tap (which can be a problem, no sledge hammer tapping needed!), how to drag something etc. And it is something they can do on their own. I also have found that too much information at one time will totally defeat the whole lesson. Email and solitaire is usually all the people I have worked with can handle at one time. Next lesson, a few days later, how to get on the internet. These are people who have no tech background at all. If they are interested in something, they will learn it faster, readers-books, emailing the grandkids. In my experience, the iPads proved easier for them than the computer, once they understood the concept of apps and stopped bludgeoning the poor screen as if they were typing on an old upright typewriter!
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Old 02-01-2014, 05:03 AM   #9
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Yep. I gave my 80 year old mother an iPad several years ago and she loves it. She mostly uses it for solitaire and to read books on the kindle app. She tells me what books she wants and I buy them for her and send them to her iPad. My 84 year old father uses the banking app on it to check his bank statements rather than the web based one since it's easier for him to grasp. The biggest thing was simply getting them use to tapping.
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Old 02-01-2014, 11:54 PM   #10
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faithbw,

Some iPad settings that might be appreciated by seniors:

Settings > General > Accessibility
Turn on:
Larger Type
Bold Text
Increase Contrast
Reduce Motion
On/Off Labels (try it, some people like it, some don't)

Also, if grandkids will be involved, you might want to turn on Restrictions. You need to enter a passcode, keep it simple like: 1234.

Settings > General > Restrictions
Restrictions are OFF (disabled) when Green and restrictions are ON (enabled) when Gray.
You might want to restrict "Deleting Apps" and "In-App Purchases".

I'm a senior with grandkids ranging from 1 to 18, and have done the above on my iPad.

Good luck.
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Old 02-02-2014, 06:04 AM   #11
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Why this assumption that everyone over the age is retirement is an idiot? Most people who are even in their 80s now will have used a computer in their working life.
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Old 02-02-2014, 07:10 AM   #12
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Some do, some don't. My father, a very smart man, has never been comfortable with computers. He was one of those guys who use to get his secretary to print off his emails for him. It's not so much of is an idiot as having to pick up new things. When I watch my father with the cable box, he doesn't use the channel guide, but rather goes directly to a channel using the channel number. It's simply the way he's use to doing things. Same thing when he uses his iPhone. Rather then use the contact list, he just punches in the telephone number.

One of the downsides of the Apple UI is that you have to do things the Apple way. If you aren't comfortable with that, then it's confusing.
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Old 02-02-2014, 11:48 AM   #13
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My father is 50 and can't even figure out how to turn on a computer; he uses a feature phone because a smartphone would confuse him to the point where he probably wouldn't know how to place a call.*

Everyone is different, and age is not a guarantee of anything.

*Yes, I know, that is unusually bad. Still true.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by eschwartz View Post
My father is 50 and can't even figure out how to turn on a computer; he uses a feature phone because a smartphone would confuse him to the point where he probably wouldn't know how to place a call.*
With the greatest respect to your father, I suspect that he is fairly unlikely to want to use an iPad, in that case! As a person who is rather older than your father, permit me to say that not all of us "oldies" are equally technologically inept .

Last edited by HarryT; 02-02-2014 at 12:23 PM.
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Old 02-02-2014, 12:27 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
With the greatest respect to your father, I suspect that he is fairly unlikely to want to use an iPad, in that case! As a person who is rather older than your father, permit me to say that not all of us "oldies" are equally technologically inept .
I thought that was my point!
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