Darlene is a professional writer, voice-over and performing arts specialist
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After hearing that a teacher was needed at the Hollywood Beach Culture and Community Center, Regina Wilson submitted her resume and a Computer class was born. But not just any computer class!
“This one is unique,” states Wilson, “because it is 1) self-paced, 2) folks can bring their own device(s), if desired and 3) they are empowered to learn how to fully use it!”
The class costs $60 for 5 sessions that last 2 hours each and the classes are on-going. Because they are self-paced, depending on what the student desires to learn, there is no set curriculum.
“If a student knows how to use their mouse,” explains Wilson, “there is no need to go over that unless I observe they would benefit from that tutorial. But if the student does not text, I want to know why. If their device permits, I would teach them how to ‘talk their text’ so they don’t have to push those itty bitty little buttons.”
Students are also shown how to work GPS and icons on their computer or phone. “We help them to learn how to better use their computer, laptop, iMac, iOS or Android device.”
The class is open to all ages, but according to Wilson all students so far have been at least 60 years young. “I find many seniors are intimidated with this newer technology. When they ask others for help with their devices, people have the tendency to take their device, push buttons and do things for them. They don’t learn how to do it for themselves for the next time.”
Coming prepared to take notes is a huge help. “Thinking you can do something one time and get it is unrealistic,” states Wilson.
“So, I assist my students in taking deep breaths, taking a look at their thoughts that may have them frustrated and assisting them in remaining calm so they can learn.”
Wilson uses whatever tutorials she can find (like Google and YouTube) to help students learn how to use their device – from online banking to making airline reservations to learning how to create and use files and folders in Windows.
“The idea is – each student becomes empowered with how to do these things for themselves. I am very encouraging.”
Wilson earned an AS in Computer Information Technology from Miami-Dade College but never thought of herself as a teacher. “I didn’t know this before,” she says, “but I enjoy assisting the students. If a person wants to learn, I want to teach – and the Center is open and available to everyone.”
There are 13 computers in the classroom, as well as WiFi, but students are encouraged to bring their own computer/electronic device to class. Keep in mind, if a student receives a brand new computer for the holidays, it will have Windows 10 loaded, so there will be a learning curve.
“Fortunately,” Wilson assures, “Windows 10 is somewhat similar to 7, and I think easier to use than 8 or 8.1. Some students may do better with the touch screen (after the learning curve) because they don’t have to use a mouse and they may be better able to control their own finger than a mouse.”
Classes resume on Tuesday, January 5, 2016, and will be held at the Hollywood Beach Cultural and Community Center, 1301 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood Beach, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., Tuesdays and/or Wednesdays.
For more information, contact: Regina, the instructor, at 786-663-8884; or Sonja Ivey, the Center Coordinator, at 954-921-3600.