IPad: starting your Mum on her Tech journey

My Mother recently turned 80. Right or wrong, we, the children, bought her an IPad. I knew this could lead to tears: she is of an age never to have touched a PC or a tablet or any form of computer.  I knew all the education would fall naturally to me, and that it would test my considerable powers of patience… and hers, as the bulk of the helpline would be over the phone. This is hard enough on something with a tactile keyboard and a mouse, but trying to guide someone on gesture-based keystrokes over the phone? Argh.

I started out with comic-style guides on paper that she could refer to at home. These were gratefully received and then forgotten. Agreed terms for referring unambiguously to specific buttons and icons were embraced at first (e.g. “dimple”, “hamburger”), but then, when referenced a week later over the phone, it was as if we had never spoken about these words.

She tried “Ipad for Dummies” type books. But have you seen these? For example, this is an extract from one:

ipadseniors01

To someone who has no concept of computers it must look like a random dump of letters.  But as I was writing that, it crossed my mind that I had not yet checked the “intended audience” section of the book. Let’s take a look:

ipadseniors02

So I would say she falls in that category. Conclusion: this book is useless.


I finally did my own video. The tone is a little peremptory, I speak slowly, the content repeats, but to my mind that is an ideal teaching method for someone at this stage. Here’s the video on YouTube.

GmailOnIpad

If you take a look, could you pretty please also let the advert play out… I need those cents 🙂 As you see, it is focussed specifically on Gmail on the IPad, as that is her current interest.

There was then the challenge of her actually knowing how to navigate to YouTube on the IPad. Nope. So I burned a copy to the DVD and sent that. The great thing is… unprompted, she said that it is very useful. Good.

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