Ernestine Mathis will have a full Mother’s Day this year. She will look forward to spending time with her son Darrick who lives near her home in San Antonio. But she also looks forward to seeing her granddaughters Donnetta and Channice—well, their faces that is. Ernestine enjoys visiting with her granddaughters via Skpe since Donnetta now lives in Baltimore and Channice now lives in Chicago.
Mathis has been taking Oasis technology classes at San Antonio’s District 10 Senior Center for at least three years now. “I noticed things in the world were on the move but I was at a standstill when it came to technology. I was already taking an exercise and a yoga class and so I decided why not try the technology classes as well? The classroom was usually full and people were smiling.”
She used a computer daily before retiring from the Social Security Administration and she owned a laptop computer that allowed her to email her friends who were still in Chicago. Between email and talking on her land line she still felt connected. Mathis enrolled in an Introduction to Computers class led by instructor Tom Weaver and she has not looked back since. With Tom’s guidance she now uses Facebook, Skype, Gmail chat, and smart phone and tablet.
“I enjoy keeping the tablet with me while I am at home—it’s much less bulky than my laptop. When I am out and about I can use my smart phone to take a picture.” Mathis attributes her continual learning to Weaver’s patient and proactive teaching style. “He directs our learning in a very kind way but you also know that he expects you to advance.” She was content with her flip phone but Weaver suggested she could upgrade. He then helped Mathis and a classmate choose smart phones. The two students bought the same model of smart phone so they could help each other. Mathis said that the ability for the two friends to help each other also gave her a new insight—that she was capable of helping others with some of their technology problems.
Like all mothers, Ernestine Mathis is a teacher. Sometimes she has the opportunity to teach her son Darrick how to do something on his smart phone.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers keeping lifelong learning on their personal agendas.