Monday, April 27, 2009

Computer Course for Pensioners

Illustration: Education I’ve started teaching basic computer skills for pensioners at a local community center in Budapest, Hungary. It’s exciting! I wouldn’t speak about the personal side but I would say a few things about the professional side.

First of all it’s a great challenge. They have learnt in a different political and educational system and several years have passed since the last time they had to learn something brand new. It can be very hard to make notes on their own. It can be very hard to learn a technology that did not exist in their childhood (and probably in their middle ages as well).

I have some experience in education (as a student and as a tutor), and most of the people I’ve met were undergraduate or professional CS people. It’s a totally different genre. They have no background in computer usage, probably  they have no mathematical or physical  background, they have no English knowledge. So back to the basics. It’s the biggest challenge. Explain yourself in plain English (in my case plain Hungarian), show them how to take notes and what worths to note.

Something more exciting: there is no projector to use. Students have no sight on your display. There is just yourself – and the whiteboard. You can use just your pedagogic and interpersonal skills to show them, help them, explain them everything.

As I’ve written previously I have some experience in tutoring. It’s something totally different. I have some areas I should develop:

  • show them what to note, how can they learn
  • learn how to express everything with a single pen and whiteboard
  • don’t forget to write down the keywords on the whiteboard

Actually maybe it’s not the biggest professional practice I can gain but I’m sure it’s the biggest opportunity to develop my soft end educational skill.