iPad for Dad, #4 – Learning Curves

If you like this post, read some of the other descriptions of our Father/Daughter iPad for Dad adventures — iPad for Dad, #1iPad for Dad, #2iPad for Dad, #3,  iPad for Dad, #4iPad for Dad, #5iPad for Dad, #6,  iPad for Dad, #7iPad for Dad, #8,  iPad for Dad, #9iPad for Dad, #10iPad for Dad, #11iPad for Dad, #12iPad for Dad, #13,  iPad for Dad, #14,  iPad for Dad, #15iPad for Dad, #16,  iPad for Dad, #17 , iPad for Dad, #18,  iPad for Dad, #19iPad for Dad, #20iPad for Dad, #21 and iPad for Dad, # 22.

Whenever I introduce new technology to adults — teachers, seniors, my dad, even my husband — a rush of exhilaration bubbles over when the lessons begin. The learner is always highly motivated to get going with the equipment. Lots of successes occur quickly. But then comes a period when the activities of regular life intervene and less time is devoted to the new learning tasks. Using the older technology is simpler even though the new one is faster, better, and even easier. Right now Dad’s life is competing with his iPad practice.

All of the seniors in my life are busy people, their lives chock full of activities. Sitting down to master new technology is not quite as much fun as their many other endeavors. Have I mentioned that I am also teaching my mother to text?

So while enthusiasm and energy are always strong, their practice sessions are sometimes spaced farther apart, and the sequences of steps needed for various tasks are not committed to memory. My dad attributes this to age. I attribute it to lack of practice, telling him that every adult has the same issue without regular daily reviews (any adult born into the non-digital era, that is).

I will also admit to reminding him about how often he badgered me about practicing the piano.

The bottom line is that Dad loves his iPad and is eager to keep going. However, events intervene —  an international conference in town, an upcoming music festival, and a campaign for mayor (he working on it, not running for it). Sometime soon an art show opens at the their retirement community, and they both exercise at the wellness center and enjoy activities with friends. I am pleased that my parents, both in their 80’s, have such active and pleasurable lives.

So we are taking iPad training slowly. Both of us have our agendas. Dad is eager to use — to really use — the iPad technology and looks forward to the day when he sends e-mail automatically. I want to do what it takes to get him comfortable, helping him feel confident and competent enough to have fun and even explore new things on his own. I also look forward to communicating with him via e-mail, enjoying the ability to swap ideas. My greatest frustration is that I will not visit again for a few more weeks.

We have scheduled an iPad phone tutorial to review e-mail for 9:00 on Saturday morning, May 22nd. I promise to report on that session.

In the meantime Dad will continue to read the New York Times on his iPad each day, getting used to pointing and touching and to moving around the pages, and I’ll know that every time he reads it his comfort level will grow.

3 thoughts on “iPad for Dad, #4 – Learning Curves

  1. Thank you for this series of articles. I have been thinking about getting an iPad for my grandfather (to replace his giant, 10-year-old dial-up modem pc that he uses only for email), but I’m not sure he would have the same level of enthusiasm that your dad has for learning something so new. Your report on the experience, the challenges, the successes, the things to consider—it was all very helpful. Thank you!


  2. If my dad had any hesitation at the beginning it was more from a confidence angle. Learning new things is hard, and most of us assume as we get older that it is hard just because we are older, which is not true. He was, however, blown away that I would get something like the iPad for him — “space-agey” — he called it.

    When he saw the actual iPad he was amazed by how it looked, another thing that drew him in (but then Apple seems to design things that do this). And he was definitely won over by the ability to read New York Times on the couch or at the dining room table anytime of the day and have it be updated within minutes of his reading.


  3. I had my doubts at first when we began teaching seniors with iPads. After a short time, I am a firm believer how they love the ipad and pick it up so easily. They think the gesture motions are cool! – Jean Coppola, Pace University NYC


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