TOWNSEND — Seniors in town have lined up around the block to participate in a free class aimed at getting them more connected to the Computer Age. Volunteer instructor Bill Conaway’s computer class has been so popular, he’s created a second session to accommodate the interest.
More than an hour before the start of the most recent class, people began to gather in the foyer of the new Townsend Senior Center. Down the hall, Conaway had his classroom all set up and ready to go.
Quite a few of the students have not used a computer before or have had very little experience with them. But they were all ready to learn new skills.
Based on the interests of his students, Conaway will have his hands full teaching this inquisitive assembly.
Before the class several women gathered in the seating area in front of the fireplace.
“I’m willing to try at my age,” Connie Giles said.
She said she took a course at North Middlesex and enjoyed it, but the course offered at the senior center had one more advantage.
“This is a free class,” she said. “When I went to North Middlesex, they charged us $25.”
Learning new skills as an adult can be a challenge, but these students are up to it. “You’re never too old to learn,” Helen St. Hilaire said.
Sending e-mail and shopping were on the future computer wizards’ minds. “It’s easier,” Giles said. “It’s all online.”
Nancy Martin said she only gets about three e-mails a day. She’d like to be able to use a computer to stay in touch no matter where she is.
Alice McNally has some other ideas. She would like to use the computer for graphics and research. “I’m interested in learning all the parts,” she said. “I do photography at home. I love to go on about our heritage.”
Even before class began the group discussed different types of computers and keyboard sizes. One woman said some men had problems using a regular keyboard because their fingers are too large.
The computers at the senior center have a larger keyboard to make things easier.
Conaway’s planned four week class is intended to familiarize new users with what a computer is; what it looks like and what it can do.
“I want them to tell me what they want,” he said. Based on that input he will plan mini-classes on separate subjects.
If other seniors are interested in this class, contact the Senior Center.