Category Archives: Practical

Reading, German, Movies, Books, Zooming along

Four courses just started with Zoom…

Tric Topsfield  The Pleasure of Reading

Our group has met twice using Zoom. The first time with only four parti­cipants went very well in terms of clear commu­nic­a­tion and good quality of sound. The small number obviously demands that each parti­cipant needs to be well prepared to contribute to the discus­sion in order for the meeting to proceed smoothly.

The second time with eleven parti­cipants provided more of a challenge with echoing causing diffi­culty with hearing for me as a hearing aid wearer but that seemed to vary with each person. I suspect I had the most diffi­culty and even so I managed well enough to enjoy the exper­i­ence. Feedback from members having their first Reading for Pleasure on Zoom was that the meeting went well. Conversation was engaging with every parti­cipant contributing.

A further challenge is accessing scheduled books with restricted library services  so the order of books has had to be altered to meet this challenge. Meetings with Zoom will continue until we can all rejoice in seeing each other in actuality rather than on screen.

PS  A plus for me has been learning how to use a new IT commu­nic­a­tion skill which I may need to use in the future.

Renate Tonks German Advanced Conversation

Dace Darzins is the Tutor and I manage the class on Zoom. We have a Pro licence paid for by u3a so we can go for longer than the standard 40 min.

Unfortunately the group is quite small, maximum so far have been 8 parti­cipants, but this makes the group quite manage­able.  If the group were any larger I think we might struggle to have spon­tan­eous conversations.

Each week we agree on a topic and each person has an oppor­tunity to express them­selves, which generates questions from the other parti­cipants.  We have found that a relaxed conver­sa­tional style session, as compared to a formal present­a­tion followed by discus­sion, works best when using Zoom.  Once everyone got used to giving one person at a time the floor and not inter­rupting the sessions now flow very smoothly.

I don’t believe that we need the white­board in Zoom as most people are taking their own notes and asking if they don’t under­stand something, whereby Dace will explain the meaning and spelling of words. 

Kay Bennetts Free to Air Film Club

We have just had our first session and it went very well indeed. The film was chosen from the enormous number available on SBS On Demand.

There were eight parti­cipants who engaged in lively discus­sion. Everyone felt that seeing each other all the time was very important in this time of social distan­cing, and that 8 was the perfect number to enable a natural relaxed conversation.

Everyone is keen to continue and was impressed with how easy it is to have a conver­sa­tion in this manner. People like the fact that you can see everyone in the group all the time. 

[Enrolments are still open for this group and for a number of the other new online courses.]

John Travers Book Club

I recently lead a book club discus­sion of twelve in Zoom and we asked each person to hold their hand up if they wanted to speak. This worked very well, better than a regular discus­sion, because we were all looking at each other and could see if someone had their hand up. The Chair simply said a name, and on the conver­sa­tion went. It was a more orderly conver­sa­tion than usual and more personal, surprisingly.

Things to do

The Australian Ballet is offering free cinema-quality full-length perform­ances. Click here

Zoos SA are offering live streams — check out what the animals are up to! Click here

Citizen science: contribute to coronavirus research without leaving the house. Click here

The STREAM solution can help to ensure mental wellbeing during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here

Andrew Lloyd Webber is releasing a full-length, smash-hit musical each week for free! Click here

World-class museums and galleries offering virtual tours and online collec­tions. Click here

Recommendations from the Seniors Card team

Home is where the heart is. Get inspired by these easy DIY furniture makeover projects! You will add value to your home with these inex­pensive ideas, and have fun doing it. Penny Click here
Stay upbeat and active. Gardening can help us turn this situation into a positive. Sow seeds or plant seedlings and watch them bloom over the coming weeks and months.
Josh Click here

National Theatre (UK)

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Zoom Cheese & drinks

by Helen Bills

Our wine and cheese party last night via Zoom was great fun.

We are using Zoom to have virtual gath­er­ings with family and friends two or three days a week. You can also use Skype or FaceTime (Apple) in the same way.

In the interests of social distan­cing we exchanged cheese, half bottles of wine and cake via an esky at our front door so we both had the same food and wine and could discuss just as we would at a face to face gathering. No driving home required so the wine flowed freely, bubbles, white wine then red wine then stagger!
Roger and Helen Bills and their drinking pals. 

The ZOOM app is free. If it’s 1 on 1 (which our party was) then time is unlimited, 3 — 100 parti­cipants you have 40 minutes. 

I down­loaded the FREE app, ZOOM Cloud Meetings,  from the Apple App Store onto my mini iPad. Then I opened and followed the prompts. I’m sure there is an android equi­valent. You can also get an app on a computer, with a bigger screen.

If you use a laptop, put it on a few books so the camera doesn’t look up your nose!

There are a lot of tutorials on YouTube, but if you try it out with friends it is not hard to work out. A phone call can sort it out if necessary.

Do your friend a favour with just in time computer help

by John Travers

The current health crisis is making one thing very clear. If you have poor computer skills you are going to be at an increasing disad­vantage. The avail­ab­ility of the internet is one of the saving graces of the ‘stay at home’ rule. It allows us to keep informed, keep in touch with friends and family and go about our daily business. For example, Supermarkets are setting up large scale home delivery services aimed at the elderly and disabled people. These services depend on online ordering. 

I have been a computer nerd for a long time and in recent years have been taking classes for mainly elderly people in how to use the iPad and iPhone. My customers are a very diverse group. They all have the initi­ative to seek out help from a class. They are largely women. Men seem reluctant to seek help. Some are confident in them­selves and soak up new inform­a­tion. Many lack confid­ence in their own ability. Many say that getting help from their children and grand­chil­dren is frus­trating. The helpers, they say, are in a hurry and tend to take over and then disappear. I suspect that often the learner only seeks help when in a critical situation, so are frus­trated and angry. Not a good learning situation.

If you are reading this article you are probably quite good at using the internet, because you have found your way here. You no doubt have friends who have quite poor skills and who are left out of conver­sa­tions about getting inform­a­tion from the internet, finding enter­tain­ment and using tech­no­logy to keep in touch with family. I urge people to intervene to help friends who lack skills. This means gently prodding people to learn. Often people don’t know what is possible. 

The trouble with classes like mine is that they pack a lot of inform­a­tion into a session which can be over­whelming. The best learning is ‘just in time’ learning. When there is an immediate need and and oppor­tunity to have support. So if you find a friend who doesn’t know how to do something, it is doing them a real favour to intervene and test whether they are willing to learn and be there to provide it. Following up later is valuable because the learner has had a chance to try the skill by them­selves then get help if they ran into a problem. Just in time learning with follow-up  is powerful. 

Becoming colourful

by John Travers

This is a modest practical contri­bu­tion, that popped up in my email yesterday. The website MyHeritage which hosts a gigantic collec­tion of family trees recently offered members a tool to colorize (US spelling!) photos. So I gave it a go, and it is very impressive. The photos below show the effect: my paren’t wedding in 1933.

Generally the colour is very realistic. The news yesterday was that MyHeritage is making this service available free for an unlimited number of photos. So, if you have time on your hands and black and white photos, you can go to join up and give it a try. You might also be inspired to create an online family tree.