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At community ed class, adult students learn to use iPads

Students listen closely to the instructor last week during the "iPad 1 for beginners" community education class.

When Camille and Mark Stone graduated from high school in the 1970s, the few crude home computers were a hobbyists novelty. These days, the couple Skypes with family members and updates their Facebook accounts.

"We weren't kids that grew up with these technological things," Camille said. "But we're learning and we want to keep learning so we don't get left behind."

Last spring, the couple bought an iPad. To learn more about it, they enrolled in "iPad 1 for Beginners," a class offered by Wadena-Deer Creek-Bluffton Community Education. During a couple of two-hour sessions in January, Tabitha Petrowski explained the basics of the Apple tablet for nine adult students in a WDC high school science room.

"I think more than anything, it is just an opportunity for a lot of them to come in and ask questions and try different things with somebody who has experience with the device," said Petrowski, a WDC speech language pathologist by day/community educator by night. "So many of them are afraid to do anything because they feel they might break it or do something they might not be able to undo."

In the first session, Petrowski taught iPad fundamentals and introduced them to some apps. She assigned homework for the following week's class.

"For the most part it was play around with it and try out the features we had discussed the first week," she said.

During the first part of the second session last Tuesday, Petrowski explained the ins and outs of the iPad camera . She showed how to use filters, crop photos and share them via email or the iCloud.

"Does everybody get it?" she asked the class.

Several nodded. A couple asked for clarification.

Taking a break from tapping on her device, one student said she had learned a lot from Petrowski.

"She's very good," Judy Taves said. "This is a great class."

Petrowski said she hopes she helps her students gain comfort and confidence with the iPad so they increase their use.

"More than anything," she said, "they walk out of here knowing more than when they came in here."

Diane Peters, who took the class along with her husband, uses the iPad to help find roads or restaurant when she's out of town. She said she's glad community education is teaching them other ways to use the device.

"It's nice for someone to show you rather than trying to figure it out on your own, reading it out of a manual," Peters said.

The January classes mark the fourth time Petrowski has taught "iPad for Beginners," which is open to all ages and costs $20 for both sessions. There will be another round in the fall.

She will teach an iPad 2 course - a single two-hour class for $10 - for the first time from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25. To sign up, contact community education director Sandy Rentz at 632-2369.

"We'll go into the features a little more in-depth," Petrowski said.

Camille Stone said she and her husband are planning to enroll in iPad 2. "I want to keep up with technology and Mark does, too."