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Monday, 1 August  2005  Computer Students

Meet some computer students with a difference.

DAVID CURNOW: Meet my grandmother. Dorothy Sizer is in her mid seventies, a regular golfer, great gardener, top cook and knits up a storm. She and her sister-in-law, Jean Sizer are active and involved members of the older generation.

It's been several years since they retired, meaning they missed out on the computer boom in workplaces and at home.

So, in the last few years they've joined a rapidly growing group of retirees getting online.

DOROTHY SIZER: Because I felt illiterate in modern technology and you would hear jargon and you didn't know what people were talking about and you didn't want to be left behind.

DAVID CURNOW: Dorothy was mostly taught by grade 12 student, Katie Blonski.

DAVID CURNOW: These days Dorothy keeps in touch with family across Australia via the web, including her newest great grandchild in Townsville. With Katie looking on, Dorothy has learnt an entirely new technology from scratch.

DOROTHY SIZER: It's the age bit that your memory's not as good and your learning ability's not as good as when you were young, really.

DAVID CURNOW: And that's the bit you found difficult?

DOROTHY SIZER: Yes, remembering and because you're not using it continuously, you're not reinforcing what you've learnt.

COMPUTER TEACHER: And I just put so and so or whatever it was at hotmail dot com.

DAVID CURNOW: Jean Sizer decided to learn about computers after being given one.

JEAN SIZER: After a few months I decided that I needed a little bit of help, so I went to a course for absolute beginners, and we learnt how to turn it on, and how to turn it off, and a few things in between then.

DAVID CURNOW: Like Dorothy, Jean uses her computer to stay in touch with family and write her memoirs.

JEAN SIZER: It takes a bit of effort but it's been worth the effort so that you do know what others are thinking about and you don't like to feel 'oh that's beyond me or I can't do that,' so I like to give things a go and that's been fun to try and keep up a bit.

DAVID CURNOW: So with classes like these and home tutors, people like my grandmother are now exposed to a whole new world. Bringing them closer again to the changing world and their loving grandsons!

DOROTHY SIZER: I mightn't know what to do, but I do feel I know what they're on about.

DAVID CURNOW: And that it seems makes all the difference.

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English Bites - Computer Students
story notes

older generation
A generation is made up of people who are about the same age, in a society or family.
So the older generation is a way of describing older people in society.

If you have retired, you've stopped working.

computer boom
A boom is a period of strong growth
The computer boom was the time when there was strong growth in the popularity of computers.

illiterate in modern technology
Illiterate is an adjective describing someone who is unable to read and write.
To feel illiterate in modern technology is to feel that you don't know anything about modern technology.

Jargon refers to special words and phrases used by professions or groups of people.

left behind
To be left behind is to remain somewhere while everyone else moves forward.

Example: You'll be left behind if you don't complete your education.

keeps in touch
To keep in touch means to stay in contact or continue communicating.

Example: My son lives in another city, but we still keep in touch.

great grandchild
If your son or daughter has a child, then that child is your grandchild.
If your grandchild has a child, then that child is your great grandchild.

looking on


from scratch
To learn something from scratch is to learn something from the very beginning.

Example: If I go to France , I'll have to learn French from scratch.

We teach, you learn.

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