Do you remember the first iPad you ever touched? No, neither do I. As evidenced by the whorls and loops that form a polka-dotted haze across my computer screen, it's hard to remember first learning to use a finger to swipe across the smooth glass of an iPad. I can't even put my finger on the memory of that first time I ever tapped on the Home button. And downloading an app? Haven't we done that our whole lives? The answer is NO. Even though using an iPad seems to many of us like second nature, there are actually many people in the world who have no concept of any of these first-world tasks. One such population is the great-grandparent group.
I was recently asked to lead an iPad basics class for a group of Foster Grandparents. When I gladly agreed to do it, I was thinking quite optimistically - I figured I would just pare down the typical iPad course I do for teachers when they get their first devices. As the day approached, I kept thinking about my dear, sweet mother-in-law, just one generation ahead of me, and how she struggles to even use the TV remote; I decided that I would need to take a different approach. I woke up extra early this [Saturday] morning, went to Albertson's to purchase some donut holes and a traveller of Starbucks coffee, then headed over to our Gear Up Lab to set up for the 2-hour training. True to their generation, my group of grandmas started showing up respectably (30 minutes) early, ready to start learning.
Throughout the 2-hour training, they were amazingly good sports! And why wouldn't they be?! These ladies practically volunteer their time (they make barely over $2.50 an hour, just enough to cover the cost of their transportation) to work in classrooms all over Billings and beyond. They model fluency for emerging readers, they help little fingers assemble projects, they check for signatures in assignment notebooks, and now, in the age of 21st Century learners, they are being asked to assist with technology they barely understand.
Using Nearpod to get to know them (and to help them get comfortable with the devices), I asked them to draw a picture of themselves in their classrooms:
As it always turns out, my "students" weren't the only learners today. These ladies reminded me that, even though I may not recall a time when technology was a foreign concept to me, I can't just assume that everyone knows the lingo, the buttons, the settings, or the gestures needed to be successful with a brand new tool or piece of equipment. In helping someone to learn something new, we need to exercise patience, allow for extra think and work time, build in plenty of time for questions, and most importantly, opportunity to work and even play with the device.
And so, for all my grandmas and the iPad newbies of the world, HERE are the basics of the iPad Basics: