But it falls apart quickly right after you ask, “Can you help me figure out this new app?”
Hold on, here it comes. “Sure, it’s easy. First go to the App Store, search for the app you want, download it, open it, register, and start using it. Easy, isn’t it?”
All delivered in a five second staccato with a half dozen clicks, swipes, and flicks which you can’t begin to follow. Then your grandson walks out the door (consulting his own phone).
Your long-anticipated tutorial is over.
But, unfortunately, you aren’t.
Your mouth is open ready to ask a couple of questions, “What is the App Store? And where is it?”
Why such a disconnect between our kids/grandkids and boomers when we have tech questions?
They generally like us, no doubt! They want to help us, I’m sure. But, they make some assumptions about our learning (and their teaching) that doesn’t allow us to connect.
All is not lost. I am optimistic that with structuring the situation a bit differently our grandkids will be happy to help us learn more about our smartphones, tablets, or computers.
Here are several ways to make that happen.
1. Do your homework ahead of time and have a specific question. What is the best videoconferencing option—Skype, FaceTime, or Duo? How do I download an app to my smartphone? How do I take a screenshot and then share it with others.
Take a few minutes to Google your question and read a little bit about what you are asking. In all three examples above, you can readily answer these questions, but the important thing is to learn more about a possible answer BEFORE you ask your granddaughter. If nothing else, it really helps to know the correct terminology so you can ask questions that make sense.
2. Choose your time and place and try not to do every “mini-tutorial” on “the fly.” Instead, plan ahead and set up a time (no more than 20 minutes) and sit down at a table where you can easily hold and see your device.
Sitting around a table makes it seem more like an honest-to-goodness teaching moment. It goes without saying that other distractions should be minimized so you two can concentrate on what you are learning.
Ideally, you should keep control of your device. If you are asking questions about your smartphone, it should be in your hand as your “teacher” talks you through whatever you are learning. Before ending the session, you should make sure that you can actually do what you are being taught. If for example, you are learning how to organize apps, try the steps several times to make sure you can do it. On frustration that boomers often have is that they want to take notes on the “steps” but there is often never time for that to happen.
Sticking to a 20 minute tutorial is important so that your grandson or granddaughter doesn’t feel trapped into doing tech help all day. Ok, more psychological than real, I agree!
3. Review. Review. Review. Once the session is done the best thing you can do is to sit back down with your device and any notes you took and review the process. Perhaps this is the place to consolidate your notes and fill in any gaps. But 5-10 minutes here while everything is fresh in your mind will pay huge dividends when you actually want to do what you learned the next time. And try it out the next day as well.
4. Express appreciation for the time and tech expertise they share with you. This is not a bribe! And I don’t recommend paying them for their time. But a plate of cookies, a trip to the local ice cream parlor, or a small iTunes gift card is always a nice idea and reinforces that what they are doing is meaningful to you…and important.
If these mini-sessions go well you may be able to extend them in the future to 45 minutes. Always keep a running list of questions you have and make it a habit to identify the most important questions to ask your teacher.
If this all works as it should, after awhile, you will begin to take more responsibility for your own learning, using a combination of video tutorials (see YouTube), or searching for answers to questions you want to ask your grandchild.
And it may not be too long when your tech knowledge surpasses that of your grandchild and she (or he) starts asking you for advice!
A BONUS for your grandchild (or whomever is helping you).
So, you finally have worked out a system whereby someone is helping you learn more about your smartphone, tablet, computer, or camera!
Now it is time for you to give something back.
Here is a way to start with a copy of this very useful FREE Tip Sheet—10 iPhone Icons. These icons will help you understand how to navigate your iPhone with great expertise.
Click on the yellow box below to get a copy for you and pass it along to whomever is helping you.
Please send me the FREE iPhone Icons Tip Sheet
And one more opportunity. Click on the button below to get our brand new iPhone Tips Guide.