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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 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!

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!