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Seminar Teachers Seniors How To Use New Technology

Seminar Teachers Seniors How To Use New Technology

October 10, 2005

Think of all the technology you use every day. Now imagine how you'd perform in the world your grandparents lived in. In the following story, NY1 Tech Beat Reporter Adam Balkin takes us to a place where the exact opposite is happening - grandparents learning to live in your world.

Seniors eager to learn how to use the same technology their kids and grandkids seemingly rely on every day is becoming a more frequent sight. In fact, it was even the focus of this past week's episode of Donald Trump's “The Apprentice.”

Well, we didn't follow Donald's crews, but rather a team from OATS, or Older Adults Technology Services, in the first round of a series of technology seminars it's holding for seniors.

“We were saying we wanted to have a special event where seniors could come and touch technology, really hold it in their hands, operate a mouse, hold a digital camera, and really just own this stuff a little bit,” says Tom Kamber of OATS. “We picked things we thought might be useful for seniors that they might have a curiosity about. The obvious ones were the computers. We have the iPod table over here, we have the digital photography table over here, and then we have a cell phone table over here where we show people how a cell phone works.”

Attendees say among the most exciting things they learned is that they're not alone in knowing next to nothing about this stuff.

“There are so many people in the same age group as I am who are perfectly ignorant of all of these new advances in technology, [that's the most exciting thing I learned today],” says one man. “I'm at the brink of diving into a whole new world.”

And though iPods are probably the most popular with the grandkids, for the grandparents, hands down, the digital cameras seemed to draw the most focus.

“The idea of dispensing with film is very appealing,” says one man. “It saves a lot of time and effort.”

“I’ve heard about and seen in the distance these cameras, but he's been showing us the cameras,” says one woman. “I’m amazed that you can see a picture immediately after you take it, immediately. There are a lot of things here I feel like a child learning again.”

Which is always the precise point of these seminars; to teach seniors that sometimes it's not so bad to forget the past.

“I'll be able to go into the technology age,” says one woman. “Before, I was in the middle ages.”

- Adam Balkin

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