Saturday, June 26, 2010

First time I have been mistaken for an old person!

Yesterday was the last day for the Age Action Getting Started with Computers programme in Ballybough Community Centre. I was a tutor on this programme for the last four (of six) weeks - I finished up a similar course in Rathmines last week. Getting Started is a training programme for older people to encourage and help them to use computers and the internet. Classes are run by volunteer tutors with small groups of learners, in local, non formal learning settings. It has been a very enjoyable experience for me, despite the fact that six two-hour classes is very little time to teach more than the basics of using a computer.

Nevertheless, my students were able to surf the web, and send & receive emails by the end of the course. They loved trying out booking flights, buying books, checking out eBay, as well as looking at the 1901/1911 census, and newspapers. All overcame a certain fear of using computers and are keen to continue - some have even bought computers, or have easy access to a family computer.

As part of yesterday's class, we were visited by a group of students from the Discover University programme being run by the National College of Ireland. They were taking part in a problem-based learning project - their problem was to figure out a way to get more young people to volunteer for programmes such as AgeAction's Getting Started course. They had camera and videos and also interviewed some of the older students - they also interviewed the tutors, me too! Everybody on the course enjoyed the visit by the students.

I got a good laugh when one of the Discover University students (I'd say he was about 16 years old) approached me for an interview. He had just finished interviewing Ronnie who I was tutoring. I assumed he wanted to interview a tutor - imagine my surprise when he started asking questions such as "How did I find out about the course and why I wanted to learn about computers". He thought I was one of the Getting Started students! As I am probably 35 years older than him, it must have appeared to him that I am an old man.

Now where did I put the Grecian 2000?


  1. Eugene was Skype (video) training included in the Getting Started programme? The aim of my Vizitant project, supported by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, is to alleviate loneliness among the elderly through video calling so I'm keen to build a network of people involved in this kind of training. Vizitant has since been rolled into the @daynuv (twitter handle) project.

  2. The "Getting Started" programme only covers the basics of using a computer. However, AgeAction are seeking funding to have some follow on programmes, with Skype included, for "Improvers". Check out their website at...