As a leading-edge baby boomer I am constantly on the alert for information that will help me use technology to create, connect, and contribute.
Recently, I’ve heard many people talk about how tech-savvy their parents (or grandparents) are and how they use technology in so many different ways. Interesting that when we hear people talk about using their technology we often default to the lowest common denominator of tech use—random and time-wasting internet surfing (but there are so many interesting articles about celebrities and plastic surgery gone wrong) ; mindless texting (“I had a tuna burger and sweet potato fries for lunch”), and; cat and dog videos on YouTube (do you know how many millions of hits this stuff gets?).
But completely under reported are the millions of boomers (and others) who use technology to do some very interesting things.
Here are five blog posts that highlight BoomerTECH Adventures positive use of technology. We think these tips will be of interest to you in 2015. (Don’t forget to click the links to see the full blog post.)
1. When buying a digital device don’t underestimate the capacity to learn and grow. Don’t settle for a device that is underpowered or has a limited range of options. While a “reader” is an ideal device for reading…that is all you can do with it. Instead, consider a tablet or computer that will allow you to responding to others through email, texts, and videoconferencing. Tablets also allow you to check Facebook and other social media apps, play games, take and edit pictures, read news and books and view videos online, listen to podcasts and music, and so much more. More ideas here.
2. Got questions? The answers are only a keystroke away! What have I searched for recently? Ski conditions at several nearby resorts; mileage between two far-flung locations; information about travel for a warm weather get-away; restaurant reviews; daily news stories…and many more. Got a problem…search the internet. While everyone is familiar with a simple Google search or one of the many mainstream search engines such as Yahoo, Bing, or even DuckDuckGo, there are many specialized search engines as well. Here is a simple list of 170 general web search engines. Here are several quick uses of Google’s Search function you can use everyday: (1) Find current flight status by typing in the airline and flight number; (2) Find driving mileage by writing in the locations, like “Detroit to Chicago”; (3) Need conversion? Simply type in “one cup = ___ ounces”; and (4) Insert a math problem “32 x 46 =” for solution. More help here.
3. The weirdest thing about boomers and their technology…not using it effectively. I’ve heard too often from boomers and seniors “I’m not a computer person,” “I don’t really need to be connected to the internet,” and my favorite, “I never put information about myself online.” Are boomers and seniors missing out on too much when they refuse (or choose) not to use technology. At our house in the last two weeks we’ve video conferenced (Skype or FaceTime) with friends and family all over the world. Family in one place actually got to see and talk with other family members and reconnect during the holidays. I can understand some reluctance about going online, but to miss out on using technology to connect with other family members and friends, I do not understand! And I won’t get in to the many opportunities for learning—with news sources and information about libraries, museums, art galleries and so much more. How to get started online if you are reluctant…tips here.
4. What your kids (or grandkids) want you to know about technology. Every family has a go-to tech guru but your kids and grandkids will be happy to see that you are tech savvy and able to solve some issues yourselves. What one lesson can we learn from younger folks? Learn to play with whatever device you have. Pick your device up and play with it, try it out, see how it works. You won’t break it! Also, read an article or two or view a “how to…” video on YouTube to answer questions about how to use your device or a particular app or even why something does not work. For other tips on what your kids want you to know about technology, click here.
5. Too many apps? Too many choices? Too many suggestions? Are you overloaded with articles that offer you “Top 20 Apps to Organize Your Life”? Or, “Fifty Tricks & Tips for the iPhone”? I don’t know about you, but these articles make me feel as if I am on the outside looking in. Simply too many articles, apps, and suggestions! I like the idea of only having enough apps to fill three screens on my iPhone. I can handle that. I also like to know what tools are out there that I can stick with for awhile instead of switching around every time a new app appears. For example, I use Google Drive, a suite of tools that allow me to have a workspace that my colleagues can access as well. One place to keep everything in folders and files and allows simultaneous reading and editing. See two other suggestions of my favorite digital tools.
How will you use YOUR technology to create, connect, and contribute positively in 2015?
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