Pat Marley, digital mentor at Aveo Oak Tree Hill Retirement Village, teaches digital skills to a range of ages from early 60’s to 90’s. Courses are taught on desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, with participants encouraged to bring their own devices.
Pat believes that it’s important to ask prospective participants what their needs are, saying, “Keep in mind they may not know what they need, or don't know what they don't know (shades of Dick Cheney's 'unknown unknowns'!). Whenever participants have existing skills or knowledge, encourage them to share them.”
One story that springs to Pat’s mind is of a retired maths teacher using an online randomised algebra questions bank. “He refused my suggestion of using a jotter pad - insisting on a purely mental approach. It was a matter of personal pride that his math-mind was not to be outdone by a computer.”
Pat emphasises the value of catering for the actual needs of participants, while keeping in mind that seniors also want to have a bit of fun. Try introducing seniors to taking selfies, followed by exercises such as transferring photos between devices, printing photos or emailing them to family members.