In the fast-paced world of electronic communications, sometimes the elderly may feel they’ve been left behind.
Area resident Jenny Dameron hopes to bring local seniors up to speed by teaching them computing basics. Dameron is hosting a class each Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 at the Tahlequah Senior Citizens Center.
“This is the 13th year I’ve held classes,” said Dameron. “We have a very small class this time, only seven members. I got started teaching when the site manager here wanted to learn.”
Dameron believes learning to navigate electronically is crucial.
“It’s very important, because everything is going to computers,” said Dameron. “Seniors have a desire to keep up, and this class helps them do that.”
Dameron even taught a 94-year-old man to use the machines.
“I give them basic skills, and we work on desktop computers,” said Dameron.
During Tuesday’s session, Dameron focused on teaching participants the basics of using a mouse. She passed out printed information, telling class members they could review it at home.
“Most people want to know about the Internet: ‘How do I use the Internet?’ ‘How do I get on the Internet?’,” said Dameron. “But first off, I’m going to show you how to turn the computer on and off correctly. Lots of people just turn the machine off or unplug it. This is incorrect and will cause glitches.”
Once the machines were started, the group learned to find the game Solitaire and practiced using the mouse by moving the cards in the game on the screen.
“This gets you comfortable and familiar with using a mouse,” said Dameron.
Bernice Doyle had her own laptop, and she worked with Dameron, trying to use it. After a couple of minutes, Dameron suggested Doyle use one of the desktop machines until she becomes comfortable using a computer.
“Today is my 85th birthday, and I bought this laptop for myself,” said Doyle. “I want to learn to use it. My family thinks I can just sit down and start using the computer. They say, ‘It’s easy, Mom,’ but I want to learn all I can about it.”
Doyle suspects many people who are unfamiliar with computers remain so out of fear.
“I don’t want to do something wrong,” said Doyle. “I’m glad I’ve learned how to turn it off correctly. I think fear of messing things up is one reason people are reluctant to learn.”
While the group continued playing Solitaire, Dameron chided one of her longtime students, Tom Bullock, who was helping others gain familiarity with the game.
“Don’t listen to Tom,” said Dameron. “He’ll show you how to cheat.”
Bullock said this is his second class with Dameron.
“Jenny was my teacher last year,” said Bullock. “I want to learn how to use the computer because I’m going to do some writing for my grandchildren. You know, things they’ve done and said. I have a computer being given to me if the weather will just cooperate, so they can bring it to me. I have two grandchildren and two-great grandchildren.”
Bullock hasn’t used the Internet yet, and isn’t sure he’s interested in learning that part.
“I’m just not a very good typer,” said Bullock. “It’s easier to make corrections on a computer than on a typewriter.”
Donnie Craig learned to used a couple of computer programs while she was still working, but only gained enough knowledge to be proficient at her job.
“I have a computer at home,” said Craig. “I worked for Dr. [James] Mahaney, and used the programs on the computers at work, but I’m basically computer-illiterate.”
This is Craig’s first computing class.
“I’d like to be able to get on the Internet and know what I’m doing,” said Craig.
CHECK IT OUT
Jenny Dameron usually schedules two computer classes per year, on in March and one in October. To learn more about the classes, contact Dameron at (918) 458-0342, or the Tahlequah Senior Citizens Center at (918) 456-0792.