|SeniorNet offers valuable technology lessons (Martin 2/5/12)||| Print ||
The Southwest Michigan SeniorNet Computer Learning Center at 211 Hilltop Road in St. Joseph first opened in April of 2000 with fourteen volunteers, two of whom were the Co-Volunteer Coordinators. The class offering at that time included a Beginners course and an Intermediate course. SeniorNet, a franchise of the National SeniorNet organization headquartered in the Washington DC area, is the only all-volunteer computer classroom for and by people 50 years or older in this area.
The current classroom has computers for twelve students and one instructor. A projector displays an image of the instructor's screen for all to see. Volunteer coaches stand behind the students ever alert for those falling behind. If a coach can't help a student quickly catch up to the instructor they have the authority to stop the class until all are up to speed. We teach to the slowest student but the others don't seem to mind because the coaches do get them back up to speed quickly. In an extreme case the coach or instructor might recommend a less demanding course for a student who clearly cannot keep up with the rest of the class.
Classes offered are based on student requests, software availability, and instructor knowledge. Each quarter SeniorNet has a steering committee meeting with the Volunteer Coordinator, five instructors, and one or two coaches. Student requests are considered, software is discussed, and then instructors and coaches volunteer for specific classes. The Beginners and Intermediate classes prepare students for the more advanced classes like Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Photoshop Elements, Exploring the Internet, and Coping with Pictures.
Classes that have been offered in the past include, Managing Your PC (the Windows operating system), Family Tree Maker (a genealogy course), Electronic Quilt Design, Social Media, using Mail Merge to Create Mailing Labels, Rip'n'Burn (downloading music and burning CDs), and Digicam 101 (a lecture on how to use a digital camera).
SeniorNet recently reached an understanding with Michigan Works and will be opening a new Benton Harbor classroom at Michigan Works in late February. A Volunteer Coordinator for that site has already begun soliciting volunteers. Michigan Works recognized the need for computer training for their senior (50+) clients and will be referring them to SeniorNet. These classes are also available to the public.
SeniorNet's newest course offering is Microsoft PowerPoint. This software is used to create electronic slide shows know as presentations. Slides in a presentation may contain text, drawings, pictures and sound. The person creating the presentation controls how and when each of the objects (text, drawings, etc.) appear.
If you are interested in taking a class or volunteering to teach or coach please contact Carol at (269) 983-5034. You can also contact Carol to be placed on our mailing list for the quarterly newsletter. Our schedule of classes appears on the newsletter and we also run ads in the newspaper. The schedule of classes is also available on our web site www.areaagencyonaging.org.
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