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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 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 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 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, 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 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 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...