Most of Porter’s students are driven to get online by their children or grandchildren, who want to share news and photos in e-mails and Facebook postings instead of stamped envelopes. One couple in the class, great-grandparents in their 80s, signed up after getting a laptop as a Christmas gift from their family.
“The grandparents want to see what’s happening with the kids through e-mails and sending and receiving pictures,” said Porter. “But they come here scared to death with a fear of the unknown.
Most are afraid they can’t do it, or they’ll screw it up. The first day, I have them look at the keyboard to find the destruct key, and there isn’t one. Once we teach them how to use ‘undo,’ they’re okay.”
Valerie Crozier took her first computer classes through the center in 2000 after she retired from teaching. Now, she and her husband, Doug, are both class coaches.
“I wanted to be able to communicate with my friends,” said Crozier. “I even had and 80-year-old uncle who was online. I can talk to my grandchildren stay up with what’s going on. Now I’m taking a course in ancestry that uses the computer.”
Snellville resident Edna Day had another reason to get online.
“I watch cooking shows on TV, and I want to be able to get their recipes from online,” she said. “I heard about these classes from an ad in my doctor’s office, so my husband, Jack, and I decided to give it a try.”
Porter encourages the seniors to play around with their computers at home to gain confidence.
“What they’re always most surprised at is that they can do this,” he said.
Registration for the next session of classes begins on Tuesday at Bethesda Park and Wednesday at George Pierce Park in Suwanee. Information: 770-564-4699 or www.gsrlc.org.
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