Community classes help seniors become computer savvy

Tuesday , April 10, 2012 - 12:18 PM

(ERIN HOOlEY/Standard-Examiner)Graciela Aparicio (top) helps Tirzah Probasco during a computer

Rachel J. Trotter

OGDEN -- Debbie Daniel was pleased when she had to add two extra computer classes to her community schools roster at Mount Ogden Junior High School.

There is also a waiting list for the computer classes. Daniel oversees the evening classes for the school's community schools program. The extra bonus for her has been the number of adults age 50 and older who are rapidly signing up for the classes.

She loves visiting with the group as they come to the classes, which are taught by the school's teachers.

She has one 87-year-old class member who loves to talk about what he has learned.

"They make my day," she said. "I love them, they are great."

Randy Mueller, adult services director at the Ogden Main Branch of the Weber County Library, has seen the same trend.

He said he can always count on at least one-third of the computer classes toinclude senior citizens, and sometimes he has entire classes made up of seniors.

Because we're in an age of information and social networking, Mueller said, many seniors want to be able to connect with family members who live far away or want to use the Internet for genealogical research.

Tirzah Probasco said that, for her, it is all of the above.

She attends the advanced beginning computer class at Mount Ogden Junior High School on Tuesday nights.

The students who started out as beginners asked that another class be added after completion of their four-week course. So, now they've been delving into various uses for the computer.

At the last class, they were learning how to write formal letters using Microsoft Word. Probasco felt the class was something she really needed.

She drives to Ogden from Clearfield each week and says she has enjoyed every minute of it.

"I know just enough to get myself in trouble," she said with a laugh, as she sat behind a large computer screen, ready to work.

Probasco pays $5 per week for the class, but feels she has come away with quite a deal.

"The price is fabulous," she said.

She teaches a painting class and wants to write up her class plans on the computer without having much stress. She feels she can now do that, and still wants to learn more.

"Here, I have the ability to ask stupid questions," she said of the class.

Probasco has noticed that when she asks her children or grandchildren for help, they're happy to come to her aid but often want to do it for her, rather than show her how to do it herself. She really prefers to do it herself, so the idea of a class with other adult learners appeals to her.

"Here, I don't feel quite so vulnerable," she said.

The demand for a variety of classes has grown, Mueller said, so classes range from basic to advanced computer skills, as well as some new classes on digital photography and Internet safety.

The classes at the library are free, and those interested can sign up by calling or coming into the library. Some class members come back and take the same classes more than once.

"It is quite a bit to absorb," Mueller said.

The classes taught in Spanish at the library have also been popular and fill up almost every time they are taught, Mueller said. He is impressed with how the community wants to be computer literate in many different aspects.

For more information on classes offered at the library and the various branches, visit www.weberpl.lib.ut.us and visit the programs and events link.

New computer classes, as well as other community classes, start today at Mount Ogden Junior High School. For more information on those classes, email Daniel at ddaniel@ymcasaltlake.org.

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