Technology for the older crowd

Pete Norman and Robert Sitarzewski want seniors to be as comfortable with technology as they are.
The duo are teaching a series of classes called “Computer Skills for Grandparents,” which they describe as a practical hands-on series designed to help older folks master smart phones and computers so they can communicate with their grandkids, among others.
The classes, which started in November, are offered through Roberts Computer Services in Tacoma. The cost is $35. Registration and information is available at 253-777-0016 and
Have you ever wondered, Norman asks, how your grandchildren know all that stuff about technology? It’s because “they all have a device of some kind in their hand,” he said. “Since they were little kids, and I’m talking probably the last 15 years, they have grown up with technology. They just assume that because you’re older, you must know what they’re talking about, while the truth of the matter is most of us may need to develop skills so that we can communicate using the latest technology.”
The classes, which will vary in time from an hour to two hours, will cover topics such as managing documents and pictures on a computer, sending pictures from your phone or computer, how to use Skype (for video phone calls) and Facebook, and computer operating system upgrades.
The classes will led by Sitarzewski, who worked for the City of Bellevue as a computer instructor and supervisor of the IT help desk.
Sitarzewski and Norman, who are grandparents, said many of their friends are challenged by the technology that’s a comparative snap for younger people, and they know the importance of staying in touch with relatives and friends.
“Many people now use Facebook instead of direct e-mail to reach others,” Sitarzewski said. “Using these programs on the Internet can be challenging. You can develop the skills to use them with confidence and be able to enjoy the time you spend on your computer.”