iPad for Dad, #5 – Telephone Tutorials

Image from Apple iPad Picture Gallery

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.
Two Telephone Tutorials

My father and I scheduled a session for Saturday morning, but he had an unexpected opportunity to go to the wellness center, so our phone help session occurred later in the day. Before the tutorial I fretted about whether I would be a less effective helper over the phone and without an iPad nearby. I also thought it might be more difficult for Dad. It wasn’t.

In a sense, my not being right there made him take more responsibility for his learning. Given my 30-plus years as a teacher, I should not be surprised. Dad is learning just the way my students learn, the way we all learn, demonstrating that our brains, baring serious illness, keep right on figuring out new information if we let them.

This morning, to my delight, as I was talking to my parents about something else, Dad got on the phone and suggested another iPad practice session. Yes!

Both times we concentrated on Comcast e-mail. At the first lesson, he needed key location reminders, but then he  looked around and found the keys, actually on the iPad places to touch. Dad seemed to have a mental image of the locations, yet he needed the quick hints. This morning at the second lesson we focused on the reply and the delete keys, and he found them by glancing around. I gave him fewer hints. He sent out two e-mails at each session.

Fresh Observations
  • I use the word swishing to describe the basic finger motion that moves the screen images right and left.
  • For now I tell Dad to backspace when he makes a typo. I would like to show him how to tap in a specific location in between words and edit, but I am saving that for a face-to-face lesson. Already, though, he is tired of the tedious backspace, backspace, backspace… Maybe he will try to figure it out on his own.
  • To help him after new lessons, I am thinking about downloading a few iPad graphics from the web and making 8.5 by 11″ graphic help cards with arrows and labels. Maybe I’ll even laminate them. If I follow through with this idea, I’ll make the cards in MS Word and upload the basic files with a future post.
  • Twenty-five minutes is a good amount of phone time. We are both tired if the phone call goes on longer than that.
  • The New York Times application continues to pay big dividends because he uses it regularly, thereby using many of the basic iPad skills. I need to find some additional newspaper apps because this is a man who loves newspapers.

I told Dad a story about my new iPhone, a silly thing that happened less than a year ago. I could not figure out how to expand the screen. For several weeks I muddled through, giving up on any need to make things larger. Then I mentioned this in front of a ten-year-old, who helpfully showed me–in ten seconds or less–how to use my thumb and index finger to make the adjustment. Embarrassing? Yes, but definitely indicative of today’s world.

Each of us learns differently. The key is whether we practice and whether, after a bit of consistent practice, we can master the task – which Dad has no difficulty doing.  However, with the full lives that my parents lead, I may have to use the piano practicing metaphor again soon.

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