Do you sometimes feel outsmarted by your smart phone? The pace of technology innovation makes man ypeople, not just Boomers, feel overwhelmed. Embracing technology improves your ability to extend a career and it is increasingly becoming important socially to stay connected to friends and family. There are many ways to quickly and easily update your tech skills. The first place to seek technology education at no-charge is the store where you purchased your device.

Whether it is a smart phone, laptop computer, desktop computer, ereader or tablet, most retailers offer some type of education to insure buyers will use their machines and purchase software and upgrades as they are introduced. Depending on the store, your lesson can vary from an experienced sales associate explaining how to use the features important to you to an in-store classroom setting with several customers. Once you purchase a device it is important to understand how to use it for your purposes today and to be aware of the features it may have for future uses.

Rena Christian used her computer primarily to receive emails of her grandchildren’s photos. When she added the software application, Skype, she was able to virtually join Raising Your Technology IQ birthday parties and other special occasions from her Indianapolis home.

“We use Skype to stay in touch with our grandchildren and actually see and talk to them,” says Christian.

Another avenue to upgrade your technology skills is through a class away from the retailer that sold your device. There are non-credit classes offered through Ivy Tech Community College, the IUPUI extension, public libraries often offer computer courses and the Indianapolis Arts Center offers 4-week classes to learn basic or intermediate skills using your digital camera. If you want to learn Photoshop or learn to advanced photography skills, the Indianapolis Arts Center offers courses year round.

There are also independent information technology training providers on the Internet offering instructor-led, online and private classes for software applications used in business and personally.

These courses charge a fee, so it is important to compare costs. Boomers who are upgrading their skills to become more marketable for a new job may find free computer workshops available through their local WorkOne Indy office. Their offices offer classes from Computer Basics and how to use the Internet and E-mail to more advance courses on using Linkedln and Computer Information Technology. WorkOne offers courses daily. There may be computer classes offered online through your alma mater, call and inquire through the alumni office.

One of the more obvious routes to upgrading your technology skills is through friends and family. Young people have grown up accustom to technology and many enjoy sharing their talents with older relatives. One Hamilton County grandmother was overwhelmed by receiving an e-reader as a birthday present. “I was buying large print books because of my failing eyesight, so I wasn’t too thrilled about receiving a machine to read books on,” according to the grandmother. “Now I take my ereader with me everywhere, it is easy-to-use and lightweight. I can make the font larger so it is easier to read and it is a lot cheaper than buying large-print books.”

Technology for entertainment or business does not have to be daunting for Boomers, there are many ways to learn to use smart phones and other devices to stay connected.

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