Here Come the Seniors! Cloud Computing, Social Media and Virtual Meeting Technologies to the Rescue!


A Report From the Field

This fall, I piloted a 4-week, face-to-face, hands-on Cloud Computing course for seniors and aging Baby Boomers who aren't yet ready to call ourselves "Seniors" ;-)

I call the course, "Up, Up and Away," and I promise to take people who are frustrated with their desktop computing experiences from hair-pulling to happy smiles and thicker wallets in just four weeks using a cheap mobile computer and Cloud apps. The first folks who signed up were my neighbors in the Mountain Meadows Community in Ashland, Oregon. In four weeks, participants made faster strides than even I had anticipated!

I took their performance as affirmation of three things:

1) The course design is sound and provides a useful scaffold for people who want to create a whole new relationship to computing to do so in just 4 weeks
2) Seniors can and do learn new tricks a whole lot faster than people might give them credit for
3) Mobile computers and Web 2.0 Cloud apps are going to change all of our lives - not just the lives of young people!

The photos above were made on Friday the 13th when a big crowd turned out for the Mountain Meadows' November "Friday Forum" to hear me talk about the way I look at new opportunities for seniors who willing to invest in cheap laptops or netbooks and learn to use free Cloud apps. New online ways to engage in lifetime learning, telehealth options, telemedicine options, meaningful online community participation, inexpensive (or free) connection to family members and other caregivers - wherever they are! And so much more... My deepest thanks to Cindy Earle and Hunter Hill for the photos!

I'm just crazy about my neighbors at Mountain Meadows! They're all so smart! And they've moved into this community to manage their lives in new ways while they "Age in Place." Coming to live among them has been a life-changing experience for me, personally. As a group, they're deeply committed both to their own lifetime learning and to maintaining healthy, active relationships with the people they care about - here and across the globe! So, over the next 6 months or more, I'm going to be taking groups of 12 of them "up in the Cloud," using "Up, Up and Away" as the vehicle. If the first group's success was any indication of what's to come for Mountain Meadows, this community will soon be setting a national standard for active, senior communities using the internet, social media, and virtual meeting technologies to optimize resources for "Aging in Place."

I'm excited about "Up, Up and Away!"! And I'm looking for opportunities to offer it locally while I also finish a train-the-trainer program so that people who would like to can offer it in your areas.

I very much want to share my introductory talk, "Computer Frustrate Me - Why Should I Care About Them?" with churches, clubs, professional groups and at professional conferences several times a month during December, January and February and on into 2010. But I don't know how to do this without investing lots of time or money on marketing.

Got any ideas?

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Comment by Meri Walker on November 16, 2009 at 7:46am
I neglected to report that I will offer "Up, Up and Away" as a public class, starting in January, 2010, too. If you're interested in participating - or know someone else you think would like to - please leave me a comment here, email me at [email protected], or phone me directly at 488-7942. There are 8 spaces left in the first public class. There will be more than 12 people in a "pod," to ensure you get to participate - not just watch.

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