Thursday, May 24, 2007

Teaching Older Adults Computer Skills

One of the biggest challenges for Librarians at public libraries today is to teach older adults how to use computers and to navigate the internet. More and more government services are going online. Often it is difficult for the elderly to get through a phone maze to talk to a real human in order to fix medicare issues or social security issues. This has become even more of a problem since most of the information about Medicare part D benefits is online. Many social services and government offices are telling people to go to the library to get help in accessing the online information.

Teaching older adults to use a computer takes patience. I find that small classes work best and that it is important to encourage the seniors to practice their skills, so that they can retain the information. I enjoy tutoring older adults in computer skills and find it very rewarding.

The best resource that I have found for teaching computer skills to older adults is Carol Bean's Technology Training for the Older Population. She describes not only the physical and mental challenges faced by older adults, but also gives best practices for helping older adults to conquer these challenges. This page also has a very nice bibliography of library websites that discuss technology training for older adults. Carol Beans' blog: Beanworks also includes tips for older adult computer training (such as this excellent post).

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

No comments: