June 30, 2017

The Not So Scary World of Technology...Week 4

We have made it an entire month! I have not collected any data because...well, I wanted this to be fun, not business. My gut (my best data) says that things are going well. The group is growing and word is spreading that WE are not going to be afraid of technology anymore.

Here is a GREAT story...

A participant had a specific question on how to do something with her device. I asked her to explain to me the steps she took to try and fix it herself. She told me step by step what she did and I (with a smile) said, that is exactly what I would have done. The interesting thing is that she was not sure and was afraid that she might mess something up but did it anyways. I call that a tinkerer and told her she was in good company. 

The class started with the weekly question..."Who broke their devices this week?" Of course no one did because we continuously emphasize the fact that it is near impossible to break it unless you drop or flush it. I know I sound like a broken record but EVERYONE in there knows that I am going to say that at least once.

Our next step was introducing everyone to Google. About 1/3 of the class already had a google account so we spent a large portion of time setting up accounts for everyone else. We met no resistance to this and I believe folks were eager to try it out.

Here is why I choose Google...

1. It is FREE

2. It is not device-specific.

I gave the example of IBooks (most everybody had an apple product) and Kindle. IBooks on the IPad and IPhone is great. However, I prefer Kindle because it is not device-specific. This helped the participants understand that part of the why.

Most of the time was spent getting people to log in but most importantly we reviewed certain symbols that were specific to Google. That way, as they tinker this week, these symbols will be familiar.

Recognize any of these??

Although this was the most difficult task for most of them so far, I felt there was an excitement in the air. The remainder of our classes (through July) are going to be aligned with specific Google apps and extensions that I believe can make their lives easier. With easier comes confidence and with confidence comes the ultimate goal...mindset change.

As said before, the participants seem to be getting something out of this, at least I hope it is not a waste of their time. But quite honestly, I am learning so much about myself and how to approach adult learnings that I realize this is a win win for everyone.

If you want to come participate, by all means come join us. If you want to come watch, you are more than welcome to do that as well. Come check the changing of a mindset.

Next week we meet on Wednesday at noon at Trinity Lutheran Church. The remainder of the classes through July will meet on Tuesdays at noon.  I hope to see you there!


June 23, 2017

The Not So Scary World of Technology...Week 3

Week 3 of The Not So Scary World of Technology and we have not given up YET!!

In fact, I have added some people to the class. When I started this venture, I did not realize how difficult it would be...it is! However, I feel that each week we are making progress.

As said in previous posts, the main goal of this class is to change everyone's mindset to one of "I can do it and I am not afraid." We are not there yet but I can see it happening.

We kicked off the session with a simple question...

How many of you broke your devices last week??

I actually got some giggles which meant they understood the meaning behind the question. Over and over I have told them, the only way you are going to break it is by dropping it on the ground or dumping it in the toilet. Of course I know that is not entirely true but it gets the point across and also gets the participants thinking that as long as they stay away from pavement or toilets, they are good to go.

Tinkering and risk-taking is encouraged in this classroom. 

We accomplished a ton in three weeks. Here is what we are perfecting so far.

We learned the appropriate way to take photos with devices (interestingly enough, I had a couple bring me an article from AARP that listed some of the very things I discussed with them...gave me some credibility!).

We learned how to send photos from various devices as well as create albums.

We learned about certain icons that are universal, such as the trash can, the plus sign, the minus sign, the different dots that Google has...etc.

This past week, ALL participants created a Pandora account and we learned how to log in and select specific genres of music. They loved that!

We discussed the differences in Wifi and data...we will continue to discuss these because I believe too many times people get stuck with larger bills because they do not understand the difference. I know it seems simple but it really is not, especially to someone who tends to avoid looking beyond Facebook or whatever keeps them glued to the smart phone.

So what is next? One of our goals is to make sure we learn about programs, apps, etc that are not device specific. I think there are other apps or programs that are beneficial but so far, I have Macs, Kindles, IPads, Iphones, PCs and Androids all in one class...it can be tough if everyone is doing something different.

So, for that reason, we are going to begin exploring Google next week. I am going to have all of the participants sign up for a Google account (if they do not have one) and we are going to start diving into those apps that can be most beneficial to everyone.

Honestly, I am excited about that!

In this process, I am gaining so much. I have been out of the classroom for a decade and it has not been easy BUT I am definitely getting into a groove and I truly believe this is something beneficial for all (including me). I invite anyone who wants, to come join us. Whether you are afraid of technology or not, it is an awesome experience and I guarantee it will not be an hour (sometimes hour and a half) wasted.

In case you are wondering...next class is Wednesday, June 28th at 12pm. We meet at Trinity Lutheran Church in Tullahoma, TN.

Bring a device, bring your lunch, bring a friend but mostly bring an open mind...we all have room to learn.


June 18, 2017

The Not So Scary World of Technology...Week 2

Ok, so I did this crazy thing and decided I would try to help reluctant adults (of all ages) become more comfortable with technology. If you remember from last week, this came from an epiphany while sitting in church (sorry Pastor) about how there are so many adults who I know want to grasp technology but cannot because of FEAR. This lead to the creation of the Not So Scary World of Technology.

Prior to week one, I had no idea what this was going to look like. Of course I had these grand ideas of sitting around with some adults from church and teaching them how to use HTML or edit photos on Adobe Spark or even start their own blogs...I had to slow down a bit.

As an educator, I realized quickly that I needed to figure out the needs of the students. I also realized there was a pretty big range of ability among the participants. Their confidence levels also varied as well. Although I feel that even the most confident participant in the room was still pretty unsure of herself when it came to all aspects of technology.

Here were their biggest fears:

Breaking something...

Losing something...

I realized that the biggest lessons were not necessarily going to be about technology but more about confidence. We had to break down that fear among them. The way we do that...practice, tinker, play...no different than any other student.

So, my dreams of coding and blogging with my Not So Scary participants have slowed down a little bit...and that is OK! We are working on the basics of taking photos, editing them a little and sharing those photos. We are also spending time on the various symbols that are pretty much universal, like the trash can or the box with the arrow. The main points...

It is as simple as it looks.
The trash can means trash, the plus sign means add, the arrow means send
Do not over-think it

We also played Kahoot as a fun, closing quiz. Kahoot is simply an online, interactive quiz that is used with students in schools. Of course like many things, the age of the student does not matter. They seemed to enjoy that.

We are not changing the adults all at once. Not every participant will completely eliminate their fears of using technology. However, I am starting to see more smiles and a glimmer of confidence among the participants, and that is what matters.

Until next Tuesday...


June 6, 2017

The Not So Scary World of Technology...

I am trying something new.

Always the educator at heart and being in the world of admin, I do not get to practice my teaching chops as often as I would like.

As I am sitting in church awhile back...yes I was listening too! I had an idea come to mind. There are people in my community who are jumping in to the technology and quit way too early simply because it is TOO overwhelming. After bouncing my idea off of the pastor, we agreed that this could be a great stewardship opportunity.

After several weeks of thinking about it, I decided this summer would be the time to start. So began the series now known as The Not So Scary World of Technology.

I created a simple flyer...see above. I had it announced in church...so now it had to happen.  Fast forward a couple weeks and our first class took place TODAY!

I recruited my son Colin and another teacher from my church volunteered to help and I feel we had a great first session. Don't get me wrong...it was hard but I truly believe the people who participated will feel much better about technology by the end of the summer...assuming I did not scare them off today.

Simply put, here are my goals for this summer:

1. Change the mindset

2. Increase the comfort level

3. Provide one takeaway each session.

After polling the participants, I realized that our summer would be divided into specific themes including photos, communication and entertainment. We spent most of the time using their devices to take photos, tips on finding those photos, how to delete photos and strategies on taking the best pictures. I would say definitely simple and practical. To the tech guru this may seem too simplified but I emphasized the importance of finding one or two things to focus on without moving on to something new.

I may be wrong but I feel most left with a renewed enthusiasm towards learning technology. The main thing they have to get over...

Each week, I will continue to take a simplified approach to technology with the purpose of helping to ease that fear.

The one thing I am not sure they realized is the fact that I also get overwhelmed with technology. As technologically savvy as I am, too much can lead me to giving up as well. That transparency will help them realize that fast is not always good but focusing on what is important and wanted is the route to go.

Stay tuned...