The senior patrons in Seattle Public Library are learning basic computer skills in the computer class taught in Chinese language. They have learned about the computer, word processing, and how to search for information on the web. There are three details that I found most interesting.
We used “weather” as a key word example, but the patrons asked about “airline information”. It was a little surprising. We tried to show them how to use the search tools on the website of airline companies. They were good, but most of them in the US don’t provide instructions in Chinese language. It should not be lots of work load to translate the information, but maybe the airlines just haven’t realized such needs from the senior foreign users with limited English and computer skills.
The patrons got really excited when they found that they could listen to Chinese songs online. When the song “Tian Mimi (Sweet)” by Lijun Deng was played, the classroom was immediately filled with joy. They went on to search for the songs they love, or loved. There are patrons from HongKong, Taiwan, and the mainland, and they each looked for the songs in their regions. Interestingly, most of the pop music from HongKong and Taiwan were also very popular in China Mainland, so it turned out the songs they chose were well known to all. Music has no boundaries.
Some patrons enjoy taking notes. They took notes from the printed materials handed out to them. Sometimes I felt that it was not necessary to take notes word by word, simply copying from the materials they have, but I wouldn’t try to disturb them, because they each has their own learning habits. Maybe taking notes helps them memorize, or be focused? Or it could be a habit they have always used. Respect the senior’s wise.
The computer class at the Spl has provided a great way of gaining knowledge and information for the senior foreign patrons!