- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SALINA, Kan. (AP) - A large NuVision tablet was propped on the table at a good angle for viewing by its new owners, Ken and Nancy Klostermeyer.

“He insisted I buy it for him,” Nancy said. “He begged and pleaded.”

“You’ve got to every now and again, right?” Ken interjected.

But after they removed it from its packaging, neither of them was sure how to get the tablet to do what they wanted. A newsletter from Salina Public Library gave them hope.

The couple were among a few Salina area residents who brought their new Christmas devices to the library’s Technology Center Training Lab on Saturday for help learning how to use them, The Salina Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1CLfnhB ).

The “I Got This Thing as a Gift, Now What Do I Do With It?” class will be offered again from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Registration is required, and only six people at a time will be accepted, so the free class is likely to fill up quickly.

But if you don’t make it, never fear. Helen Gregg, technology center trainer, also offers one-on-one sessions for people who could use a little help becoming more tech-savvy.

Gregg said often the children or grandchildren who give an older relative a tablet or other gadget aren’t very effective at teaching them how to use it because they are “natives” to technology and don’t have the patience to bring someone who isn’t up to speed.

She said young gift-givers tend to download apps and hand a device over, saying it’s ready to use - or they will breeze too quickly through a list of instructions. For “mobile dinosaurs,” as Nancy Klostermeyer dubbed herself and her peers, frustration sets in when navigating the device proves to be not quite as simple as it looked.

Gregg starts at the beginning.

“Can everybody find their home button?” she asked. “That’s the first, most important thing to learn is, ‘How do I get back home?’ because that way you’re more adventurous.”

She got a response from the voice-activated personal assistant Siri on the secondhand Apple iPad that class member Linda Chase’s children had given her.

“I don’t know your home address. In fact, I don’t know anything about you,” Siri said.

“Somebody’s device is talking to us,” Gregg said.

“It’s probably mine,” Chase said. “It’s kind of gabby.”

Gregg assured those attending that if they wanted to know what an app did, they should click on it and see what happens.

“There’s no way you can break this thing unless you throw it against the wall,” she said.

“That’s why I got this,” class member Charlie Livingston said, pointing to the case on the new Samsung tablet he said his son talked him into buying.

“If you really get to where it spins and freezes, then you have the power button,” Gregg said. “You’re always in control.”

Gregg showed each member of the class how to find the gear-shaped icon for settings, turn on Wi-Fi and sign in to the library’s wireless network. She explained that that way they can access the Internet without using up their monthly data allotment.

Chase said she’d heard people talking about Wi-Fi before, but now she understood why they would like it.

“That’s why all the restaurants offer free Wi-Fi - because they want those 20-somethings to come eat at their joint, and those people can’t function without their devices, right?” Gregg said.

“No, they can’t,” Chase said.

Gregg showed the class how to open new tabs so they could have multiple Web pages open, and how to set bookmarks so they could easily return to favorite sites. Then she showed them how to close tabs they were finished with, so their browser didn’t get sluggish.

She showed them where to enter a word or website they wanted to search for, and where the “Go” button was on the keyboard. She helped them find the right blue “hot link” to push when they reached a page listing results similar to what they might be looking for.

As class members followed Gregg’s lead, they asked questions.

“Why does this thing say it’s 96 degrees outside?” Livingston asked.

“That’s a good question,” Gregg said, coming over to peer over his shoulder at the glowing screen.

“That’s an app called Weatherbug,” she said. “Let’s refresh it, and it should be correct.”

When Livingston opened the app, the temperature reading reset to a much more believable 41 degrees.

“When an app is saying something crazy like that, tap it to open, and then it will go out and refresh and come back corrected,” Gregg said.

Following the class, Chase scheduled a one-on-one session with Gregg. She said she would really like to become comfortable using the iPad, which came in a tough black case because it had belonged to a soldier in Kuwait.

“My kids said, ‘Mom, give it a chance,’” she said. “I had a computer at one time, and I got disgusted with that. I had a laptop a couple of years ago, until I got disgusted.”

Gregg said that in her experience her older students often don’t give themselves enough credit.

“People come in and say, ‘I don’t know anything,’ and you’d be surprised the stuff they’ve figured out,” Gregg said. “We’re a lot smarter than we give ourselves credit for, and a lot more adventurous.”

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Information from: The Salina (Kan.) Journal, https://www.salina.com

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