July 14, 2017

The Not So Scary World of Technology Weeks 5 and 6

We are down to the end of The Not So Scary World of Technology. One week left and I know I will be disappointed when it is over.

The good news...people have asked if I will do this series again. Of course I said yes!

The past two weeks I really think we made some serious strides. I have the participants asking good questions. They are also finishing some of my statements...which is great because that was my intention. For example, I ask every week, "did anyone break their device..." Of course, they all respond no and remind me that they would have to drop them on the ground or flush them in the toilet.

The key is...I can see the fear leaving. I see evidence of more tinkering and I LOVE IT! The participants are still apprehensive about certain things but I can see their minds ticking and their problem-solving abilities increasing.

One of the biggest takeaways so far happened this past session. One of the participants said she had an issue with her device. She asked her kids and they ultimately solved the problem. She was then able to explain to me the exact steps they took to solve that problem. Of course I commended her on remember those steps and told her she did exactly what she should have done. And now she knows what to do if something goes wrong.

But wait, there was more.

I told her to repeat the problem she had. As she repeated it, I typed it into a Google search.

Guess what happened??

The steps she used to solve the problem were the EXACT ones listed on the Google search. Why do I share this? It is simple, I showed the participants the simplicity of typing their question into Google to get an answer.

Pandora is stuck, what do I do??  Google answers it.

My carburetor is dirty, how do I clean it?? Google answers it.

Something that I have known for a long time was fresh and valuable information for the participants. They seemed to be relieved that they had another tool to solve problems.

We did the same strategy with YouTube. I showed examples and we played around with Google searches as well as YouTube searches. I gave them a great example using my increasing interest in making things with concrete. I wanted to make a round concrete table top and was not exactly sure how to make that happen. But, I showed everyone the process I used (Google and YouTube) and believe it or not, made it happen. Like students of all ages, I think it was important they saw a relevant example of how the process works.

In case you are wondering, here is how the round table top turned out...

 This is prior to cleanup, it looks awesome!

Back to technology...

The week before, we spent most of the time signing up and logging into the participant's Google accounts (some actually already had one). We also explored the specific icons that will help them find what they need and even looked at apps that would be beneficial to them, such as Google Keep and Pocket.

Throughout the classes, I have not pushed Google to the participants but have encouraged it for two main reasons.

1. It is FREE
2. For the most part, it is not device-specific.

This was reinforced this past week when we began searching YouTube and playing with Keep and Pocket because they were able to log in with their Google accounts and subscribe to videos and articles that were interesting to them.

This was a game changer.

In the future, when I facilitate this class we will start off earlier with the concept of searching and how it can benefit problem solving. I have told many of them to be careful because people were going to start asking them how to do things with devices. The biggest response was a laugh and a quick comment stating that they did not need to be that person. But in all seriousness, it will happen. As they get more comfortable, they will become the teachers...and I LOVE that!

One interesting observation...a participant asked how I knew all of these things to look for and to tinker with. I responded that basically one click leads to another. Once people become more familiar with technology and less apprehensive about using it, those helpful apps, websites, devices, etc become more visible.

A word to the wise...do not let it consume you. Pick something that you want to learn more about, learn more about it and then it is time to move on. A feeling of being overwhelmed is a ticket to leaving the Not So Scary World of Technology. Everyone should explore at a pace that does not confuse, anger or overwhelm them. That includes me too!

Remember, it is not lack of ability which restricts us it is the mindset.

Happy Clicking!

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