Seniors talk tech

Instructor Jose Rodriguez, standing, speaks to a participant in Wednesday’s technology class for seniors at the Donald E. Green Active Adult Center in Cullman. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Class was in session Wednesday morning at the Donald E. Green Active Adult Center with more than 20 seniors participating in a technology class. The free class is offered through Cullman Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism and aims to help seniors understand the internet, smartphones and tablets. The class is taught by Jose Rodriguez.

Wednesday’s class began with basic navigation of computers and setting up an email account. The participants were very engaged and had many questions. Rodriguez also held a lengthy question and answer session to see which areas the group would need to focus on during future classes. Overwhelmingly, using smartphones and tablets was the main area of concern for the seniors.

One participant told Rodriguez said she needed a “kindergarten-level” class and that she simply felt lost when trying to do anything on her phone. Many in the room related to her struggles. Rodriguez said he hopes to focus the next class on the basics of handheld devices.

Security was also a huge concern, as seniors are most often the targets of internet scams. Rodriquez said he plans to put together a class to help them identify and avoid being victims of the scams through phone, social media and the internet.

Jeanne Madara explained why she signed up for the class.

“I feel bad having to ask my kids all the time. I hate depending on them,” she said. “I get the gist of it, but there are things I know I can do better.”

Many of the seniors expressed their reluctance to embrace cell phones and new technology, but Madara said, “It’s easy to say, ‘I don’t want to become a part of it,’ but if you don’t, then you aren’t part of our world anymore.”

While there is a resistance, many are discovering that newer technology, including Facebook and texting, can enrich their lives.

Barbara Tubbs and Dave Gratz also joined the tech class. Gratz seemed to have the hang of Facebook as he chuckled while scrolling through his newsfeed.

Meanwhile, Tubbs smiled, “I’m here because all I know how to do is scroll.”

Madara added, “Please give Jose Rodriquez the praise because he is so patient. Look at these ladies; they are up there surrounding him and he is handling it so well. He brought us donuts. I mean, we couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. I am so impressed with his knowledge and his ability to explain this to us. Really, it’s amazing.”

The date for the next Technology School class has not been scheduled, but Rodriguez said it will be soon. He said he wanted to wait to see how the first class was received before scheduling more. Based on the popularity of Wednesday’s class, more classes will soon be scheduled.

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