Great Story

Great Stories are written by Guiding Ohio Online AmeriCorps Members about their service.

It’s one of those pieces of equipment I just have never been all that familiar with. We don’t own one. Well, come to think of it my kids do have an android. But an iPad? That just kind of seems a little daunting. So why would I schedule a class on ‘Tips and Tricks with iPads’? Well, it seemed like everyone was asking for that, and since I’m the Guiding Ohio Online guru who helps everyone understand how to work with such things, then I’m responsible to show them all how it’s done. My library has a couple of ipads for use and display so I borrowed one to play with and hopefully be a little ahead of the game when it came class time. I didn’t want to appear that I knew nothing about it at all. In fact, I was a little worried that the patrons who showed up with their iPads would all have questions about deeper issues that have algorithmic answers that I know nothing about. I didn’t go to school for computer and technology, I was more in arts and social sciences. So my class approach would be catered more toward a common everyday usage and the embellishments therein rather than the download speeds of how much data that travels through which networks.

As I began to research the various tutorial websites and Youtube videos and other such things as FAQ’s and HELP, little by little I began to understand what all this contraption called an iPad can actually do. Much more than I’d imagined, and come to find out, it really wasn’t all that hard and complicated and daunting as I’d originally thought. I stumbled onto iPad’s own ‘tips and tricks’ on the system itself and realized that I now had more material to share than I might have time to show. Now I was feeling a lot more confident. Perhaps there was a trick or two that I could pull out to help patrons actually learn something new for their trip to the library.

The group from the first of the four classes I would facilitate on this topic revealed that they actually knew only a little about even the basics of using iPads. So much of my special, ‘deeper topic’ tips and tricks, had to be trimmed on the spot in order to show just the basic mainline use of the iPad. That’s all these patrons wanted to know in the first place. It turned out that most everyone in each of the classes was about the same in their degree of understanding and use.

What did I learn as a result of all of this? Well, it’s okay to over prepare so that there’s enough material in my teaching backpack. But also, and maybe more importantly, think and teach toward common everyday use of the topic. If I’m coming to this class as a student, what am I hoping to get out of it that I need to use? I don’t need a bunch of statistics and computer science behind processes, I just want to know how to get to specific programs and use them over and over. And if something goes wrong or doesn’t come up the way I think it should, what should I do to diagnose and fix my problem. Secondly, I realize that there are people just like me that probably even work for iPad. It can’t be that complicated. For that matter, no topic that I’ll be teaching is impervious to learning and teaching. So I can allow myself to relax a little going forward and be willing to cover whatever topic seems to be the one at hand for my patrons. I just need to be willing to become familiar with the tools.