By Carol Mason - 29th March 2014 1:00pm
The University of the Third Age (U3A) was set up to provide learning opportunities for the over 50s, organised on the basis of using the knowledge contained within the membership to educate and inform other members. It also follows the principle of 'Use it or lose it' because there is good evidence to show that continuing to learn when getting older helps stave off the deterioration of our mental faculties.
Therefore it was very much following these principles that members of Haddenham U3A were invited to join the generation of Silver Surfers by attending four sessions on an Introduction to Computing. The offer was taken up by 23 members, ably supported by 11 volunteer 'buddies' who made themselves available to work alongside them.
Keith Milmer, of Haddenham.net fame, negotiated with Haddenham County Junior School for access to their splendid new computing suite for the use of the course participants. He put together and ran a very interesting but quite stretching programme for the group. He was also able to take advantage of the state-of-the-art teaching facilities, providing clear and often amusing presentations using the school's excellent projection facilities.
It was clear from the outset that terms so much used in every day conversation by more experienced computer users such as World Wide Web, Browser, Google were a revelation to some of the learners but, undeterred, they found they were able, in no time at all, to set up an email account and send an email, search the internet for information on theatres and access websites and other valuable sources of information.
Everyone had an experienced computer user (a "learning buddy") throughout each of the four workshops and who also made themselves available at the end of a phone after the classes or by meeting up to put into practice what had been covered in each session. By the end of the four sessions the mysteries of attaching files to emails, importing and editing photos, saving, managing and retrieving files, avoiding scams and, most demanding of all, creating a poster had all been covered with everyone having a go at each task.
However, this is just the beginning of the journey into the world of computing for many of the group members, who now have important decisions about whether to buy a PC, a laptop or a tablet and whether to invest in broadband or use local Wi-Fi sources such as the Haddenham Community Library or local cafes.
Haddenham U3A members have demonstrated that it is never too late to learn and Keith, despite being involved in many other village activities, has offered to run the programme again and also to offer a more advanced session for those computer users who feel comfortable with the basics.
Grateful U3A members gave their heartfelt thanks to Keith and to Sue Lewin, Head Teacher of Haddenham Community Junior School, and to Katie McGovern the IT teacher, for making it possible for the course to happen.
If you are interested in joining Haddenham U3A please contact Chris Collins, Membership Secretary on 01844 291909 or access the Haddenham U3A website where you will find a membership application form or via the link on Haddenham.net.
For further details on the computer training please contact Keith Milmer via Email: Haddenham.firstname.lastname@example.org; or telephone Carol Mason on 01844 292236.