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2 Responses to NY Times: Teach Seniors About the iPad with

  1. Warren Buckleitner August 6, 2010 at 4:00 am #

    Hi Nellie — Thanks for bringing this up, and feel free to echo the comment on the Gadgetwise blog. I actually was very aware that this could be seen as generational stereotyping; and I was smart enough to have my father-in-law approve the copy before I submitted it. I also should point out that Koi Pond HD App is no Sesame Street. Still, I can see your point and I’m pleased if my column can help to bring this topic to light. We need to leverage every developmental trick in the book to empower more people, young or old, with potentially life-altering gadgets, in a non-demeaning, non-condescending way. My father-in-law, btw, is an electrical engineer who loves his GPS and drives a Prius. Is there such a thing as octo-geek?

  2. Beth August 6, 2010 at 9:09 pm #

    I found it better than most, but still a little condescending. From what I’ve seen in real life, a first-timer who hasn’t gone through the iPod/iPhone learning curve won’t know intuitively how the iPad interface works. The spotlight search idea was good, but the white labels seem like overkill – why didn’t you just tell him what the buttons were for?

  3. Gwen February 20, 2011 at 11:38 am #

    Alas, you don’t just tell them what the buttons are for because they won’t remember and eventually you want them to use it when you aren’t there.

    I learned many painful lessons trying to teach my grandmother how to use the iPad and I still didn’t succeed.

    I should have bought the keyboard off the bat. Saying, “Don’t worry about the off button, it will turn itself off” did not work – she continued to ask the question repeatedly for weeks.

    Remember that there is a big difference between someone 75 yrs old and someone 95 yrs old and from one person to another.

  4. UpQuark April 17, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I tend to find that it’s very helpful to relate certain electronic functions to everyday objects/functions that have been part of their life for a lot longer than electronics have.

    For instance, hard drives I relate conceptually to closet/suitcase/trunk space; files and folders destinations are filing cabinets/boxes; cursors are pointers; desktops=real desktops; and with the iPad specifically, if they’re used to using a Mac, I relate as many functions to their computer functions as possible.

    I think I probably get just as frustrated as anybody else with instructing elders at times, but I always try to keep one thing in the forefront. These are not children. I think it’s profoundly arrogant and irresponsible to make that reference. These are people with a wealth of knowledge and experience we don’t have. Taking even a minute to find out what their knowledge base is outside of electronics can help find relationships between what they know and what they’re trying to learn.

    The biggest roadblock I see with any age group is the fear that if they press the wrong thing/execute the wrong function, they’ll break something. Once that anxiety can be overcome, a lot of things become easier.

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