Sunday, March 16, 2008

Helping old people with technology

Hey are my top five tips for helping seniors or the technological illiterate people with technology. Don't forget seniors can get very antsy and mad when it comes to stuff they don't know how to do so with that said here are my top five tips.

  1. Be calm and talk slow. Seniors and the technological illiterate will NOT know all the shortcuts that we geeks know and live by. Most likely it will take them 3 or more times as long to do the simple tasks that we can do in five seconds. Talking slow and loudly (for seniors) will make this process much easer for them and less stressful for you.

  2. Be prepared to explain the same thing multiple times. This will mostly apply to seniors because they often have problems hearing. So always tale VERY slow. Also be prepared to

  3. Having a preprepared list of steps to read from, will make the process of teaching easier. Just type them or even write them up. It will make the speed of the session go so much faster because you won't have to sit there and stare at the screen with that blank stare that we get when we forget stuff.

  4. When you are done showing the "student" what they asked you to teach them, ask them to use their computer to make a step-by-step instruction manual. Use the print screen button to take a screen capture of each page as you show them again how to do whatever they asked. Keep a word document (hopefully Microsoft Word) running in the background and then just copy down each screen capture into the document. After you have finished the task, use the simple drawing tools to circle the icons, drop down lists, or whatever they have to click on for that step. Put each picture on its own page and include text (use at least 20 size font).
    1. Don't forget to save the file in a folder in their desktop and print out a hard copy for them to have.
    2. Also, if you have a usb key (which most of us have) save a copy there to in case their computer crashes and they loose the file.
  5. Show them how to open and print the file in case they loose it. Most likely they will and it will save a second trip to the house if you showed them how to print out another copy.
Bonus Tip!! Now with new technology there is the ability to screen record. Simply install a simple screen recording software
(such as CamStuido) and record the steps to a video file and embed you voice over it. To view an example of that watch this youtube video.

I hope these tips help you with your technological endeavors and make the process of teaching those new to the technological world how easy it is to use these quite simple machines.

Here Chris Pirillo's video of these tips.

--Jerry Smith