Thursday, January 15, 2015

Naomi Long Madgett: Frances Shani Parker's Selfie Haiku (iPad Research)

Selfie Haiku

Magical tablet
imaging a friendship dear,
framing our selfie.

At the age of 91, Naomi Long Madgett enjoys using her computer. Poet Laureate of Detroit, Michigan, she is also an educator, author, and publisher. We have shared technology talks often, and her eagerness to learn more is refreshing. According to the Pew Research Center, four in ten people over age 65 do not use the Internet. When other older adults become frustrated with the dynamics of their computer "relationships," I use Naomi as a motivating example by reminding them that she never says, "I'm too old for this new stuff." 

I visited Naomi with my iPad after selfies exploded with popularity. I knew curiosity would entice her to explore this innovative technology. 

"Is that one of those things they call a tablet?" she asked me.

I responded by explaining a few tasks my popular mini giant could do. Finally, I questioned, "You want to take a selfie together? Do you know what that is?"

Like a confident geek, she immediately responded, "Sure, I've heard about them. They're photos people take of themselves. Let's do it!"

And we started some serious posing while I snapped until we had it right. I saved a visual snippet of our time together. At home later, I wrote the haiku, a form of Japanese poetry in 17-syllable verse form consisting of three lines of 5, 7, and 5 syllables.

Without realizing it, Naomi's eagerness to embrace technology helps her in ways that a growing body of older adult computer research evidence supports. One example of such research conducted by the University of New Hampshire in Durham and Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan was with a home-based information communication technology (ICT) training program. Graduate occupational therapy students used iPads for the training of older adults. 

Progress of participants being trained in ICT activities showed positive trends over six months, including their perspectives on technology. In fact, participants liked the iPads so much that the vast majority accepted ownership of them at the end of the study. This research reported that building capacity of older adults to utilize the multifaceted potential of this technology is "critical in addressing declines in health, impending disabilities, and social isolation." Clearly, Naomi's good choices with the "new stuff" enhance her quality of life.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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