Featuring: Jerry Taylor
"Seniors and retirees are the fastest growing group of computer users," Jerry Taylor tells Education World. "Many of them have phobias about technology, however, that prevents them from enjoying their computers more. Some sign up for computer classes through senior centers and continuing education, but are frustrated by the pace of the classes and by the fact that their home computer never looks -- or behaves -- like the one they use in class."
So Taylor, a technology integration mentor teacher with New York's Greece Central School District, has developed a business that will both meet the needs of senior techies and occupy his own time as he retires after nearly 40 years as a public school teacher. His business, SeniorTech, will provide private instruction in the homes of seniors and on their own computers.
What do seniors most want and need to learn about their computers? "It's the basics," according to Taylor. "When do I single-click? When do I double-click? Where do I store my files? What should I be doing about spyware and viruses? How can I send pictures to my grandchildren?"
As a separate, but related, endeavor, Taylor also has established a listserv for computer users aged 50 and above. He hopes the listserv, which can be accessed from the SeniorTech site, will enable members to connect with other seniors who enjoy technology. His goal is to make older users comfortable with asking -- and answering -- questions, sharing resources, exchanging Web sites, and so on.
"Don't ever let technology intimidate you," Taylor advises seniors. "The most important button on a computer is the OFF switch! If your computer is giving you a hard time, turn the darn thing OFF and try again later! Or, post a question on the SeniorTech listserv!"
Article by Cara Bafile