Senior Citizens and Computers: Teaching an Old Dog New Tech

Completing a Challenging Computer Training – With a Little Help from My Friends!

(With an apology to The Beatles, who popularized this song)

i just completed our 3-day seminar workshop called “The Use of Technology for Management of Operations.” Most of the participants were new school heads of the 24 schools in our division. They needed the training. I was the only senior citizen among them. I was often called upon by the resource person since I was seated in front. When I failed to react or I missed the question, they laughed at me. I joined with them too.

We were seated in clusters. The elementary school administrators were grouped into three clusters. I belonged to cluster 1, with 6 of us as members. We were using the laptops issued to us by the government. We made our action plan on the application of information technology for online communications. Since most of us were new, we worried that we couldn’t finish our first output. No problem! Any member of the group was ever ready to give help to those who didn’t know how to complete the assigned task. I never wasted time in coming to their assistance, either. Our first individual output for that day was done. It was emailed right away to the Information Technology Officer (ITO).

Next hands-on activity was to make a communication or memorandum to our respective teachers. We should use a word processor like the MS Word to compose such. By observing the technicality of a prescribed memorandum, we created one. We signed it, scanned, placed it back in Word and saved to PDF. Again, we emailed it to the Information Technology Officer.

Some of us hard trouble getting started in Word. Others were in the middle of composing the memo but couldn’t finish it. Those who are good in the English language swooped to the aid of those poor communicators. After an hour or so, we were done with our 2nd individual output.

Working with my output

The writer is busy for his output for the day. (Photo: Gil Camporazo)

Using MS Excel posed a big challenge for us. We were asked to make matrix or table of the test results of the pupils who took the Division Unified Test (DUT). We had to list down the pupils’ names and arranged them in alphabetical order. We learned to use the sort function of Excel to organize the names for us. We also had to supply data in all subject areas. We computed the total score, the mean test score, the mean percentile score (MPS). To do all these things, we had to use the Excel formula function.

Again, we took up several hours to complete the task. By lunch time we still had not made it, so we took it up again in the afternoon session. The seminar staff came to the rescue. And we’d made it!

The interesting part of the seminar was the use of Google Apps like Gmail, Google Forms, and Google Maps. We put aside our personal email addresses and we each created an email to be provided to the Department of Education (DepEd). Others took several tries to create theirs. We shared communications with our fellow participants, using the DepEd email addresses. The forms were done through a tutorial. We created a live form online and were taught to shorten the long URL or the address of our forum.

On the last day, we tackled the technicality of plotting our school location using Google Maps. Most of us hadn’t made it. I did try and I was able to do it. I sent it to the facilitator’s email. He opened his email which was shown on the big screen. He checked my Google map. To my dismay, my school wasn’t in its correct geographical location. It was shown in the city proper, instead of more than 6 kilometers away. The others laughed at my mistake. I joined with them in laughing too.

We had to fill out a survey form online to provide our feedback about what part of the computer seminar was most valuable to us. We were unanimous in our answers: it was the cooperation of everybody attending the workshop. No matter how big or small the problem was, everyone was there to extend a helping hand.

Our school division superintendent issued us a challenge: in 2030 she’s expecting all of us to be information technology experts. She looked at upon us all as excellent school technocrats. We received excellent training from the excellent trainers.


  1. Kyla Matton Osborne

    It sounds like it was a really thorough and challenging training, Gil. I like that it was set up not only to teach you how to use the different apps but also to show you some practical ways they can be used in your setting.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      As what the Boy Scout’s method of teaching practical skills, we learn new technological “tricks” by doing. ‘Twas fun and full of weirdos. Since we’re working online, we bore the slow Internet connection. We’d to wait until the loading process was completed. ‘Twas disgusting of having a slow speed of Internet connection. Every one of us brought his mobile wife gadget. Me, I was using my cellphone to connect me to a service provider.

  2. Pat Z Anthony

    It is so funny that you have this video post after your comments elsewhere today! It sounds like a class that would be challenging but also a lot of fun for most.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      Well, it is just to emphasise that something is worth achieving “with a little help from my friends”.

  3. Ceci

    Thumbs up! Keep it up! We do have some computer literacy class here for the senior citizen organized by the organization here as well.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      That is great. Oldies like us would love to the things that the present generation is doing. Age doesn’t matter for modern technology. Isn’t it?

  4. Andria Perry

    I am one of those old dogs! I should take classes, I could for free at the library but I noticed the people are older than me needing help so I do not ask 🙂

    I stumbled this article.

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      Hahaha! In my case, as I mentioned it here, they treated me as if their resource person. In fact, I had not much skill or knowledge as computerization is talked about.

  5. Donna Thacker

    I am a “learn as I go” type person. I can figure stuff out from a book, but someone trying to teach me just confuses me more. Sounds like it was enjoyable and productive for all!

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      “Leave me alone” is the type of person you are. You can stand with your own feet. That is a good attitude. 🙂

    1. Gil Camporazo Post author

      I believe that technology is not only for the present generation. It is also very useful for the past generation. That means young and the old could benefit from the advancement of technology.

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