Senior citizens may not all know how exciting it is to communicate online. Some seniors may not realize how easy it is to learn a new way to correspond. Your enthusiasm along with teaching skills will make it possible to train senior citizens in your family or elsewhere to effectively use email.
Have a demonstration computer so that senior citizens can watch you complete each step.
Establish a common vocabulary. Ensure that the student knows, for example, the meaning of "compose," "forward" and "delete."
Explain the purpose of communicating via email. Show examples of emails you've received and send an email while everyone in the class watches.
Give everyone a handout with simple steps to sign up for an email account and steps to send an email. This gives them a visual and something to refer to later.
Start the student with a free web-based email account like those provided by Hotmail, Yahoo!, or Google's Gmail. This provides a consistent user interface no matter where the senior accesses email and avoids confusion.
You can make the class more interesting by making it personal. Ask a student to compose an email to a family member or to ask him to provide information on an enjoyable topic.
Teach each student differently if you're teaching a group. Show the steps for creating the email account, then walk around the room and help each person individually so you can address specific questions.
Repeat each step in composing an email numerous times. Repetition helps all ages, but is especially important for the senior citizens with memory problems.
- Share a tip or shortcut that your students can use to train and impress others. For instance, show them how to "blind copy" someone on an email.
- Use the same web-based email service to train the entire class.
- Don't move too quickly as you instruct and ask for feedback often.