How to teach seniors that how to use touchscreens


One of the most common complaints from seniors about touchscreen devices is they can’t use them. This has been a problem for some time now, with many people in their 50s and 60s not figuring out how to turn on a smart TV or log into Facebook.


It’s worth noting that this doesn’t seem to be an issue for younger generations as much as it is for those who have lived through decades without touchscreens. In order to help these seniors learn how to use these new technologies, there are several things educators need to do differently than they would when teaching students from other age groups.

However, if your seniors use touchscreen devices like the best chromebook for seniors then this article will guide you how you can teach your seniors to use touchscreen easily. 

Watch how seniors use touchscreens – they are slower, less accurate, and more tentative.

It would be best if you observed seniors for a few minutes to see how they use touchscreens. They are slower, less accurate, and more tentative than other users.

Provide extra time for seniors to figure things out. Increased time can help them overcome some of the challenges they may be facing when using touchscreen devices.

In order to help seniors get comfortable with their devices, teachers should allow them space in class to work on these skills outside of what is expected in the lesson plan.


Use the “tap to select” method instead of dragging with your finger.

Seniors often struggle with dragging and dropping, especially if the element they’re trying to move is close to other factors on the screen.


According to user testing conducted by Nicole Krueger, a study funded by Google’s RISE program, it’s best for users who are using their fingers – both seniors and non-seniors – to use the tapping method instead of the dragging, which helps reduce errors.


Please resist the urge to tell seniors they’re doing something wrong when you see them struggle. When older adults fail at a task on smart devices, many of them feel like they are failing in front of their instructor

Practice using touchscreen devices in a real-world setting.

In order to teach seniors how to use touchscreens, teachers and trainers need to encourage them to practice outside of the classroom. Users have a better chance at success if they have practiced in a real-world setting similar to what they will be using their devices for.


Even if you’ve provided seniors with some practice time outside of class, they will still need guidance once they are in the real world. Instructing students how to use smart devices is one thing, but teaching them where to go and how to use them is another. 


Educators need to provide students with guidance on where they can practice using their new touchscreen skills and use these devices for relevant activities. For example, older adults might want to learn more about smartphones to know what their grandkids are doing with the devices.

Provide access to a wide variety of touchscreens.

According to research conducted by the University of Toronto, one of the most important factors in older adults’ ability to learn how to use intelligent devices is providing access to a wide variety of touchscreen tools.


Seniors need to experiment with many different types of touchscreens and interfaces before they can find what works for them.

While it might be hard for teachers to provide all of the different types of technology seniors need access to, there are certainly options that will help. For example, Intuition Machines has developed a touch-enabled projector to convert any physical surface into a touchscreen.

Provide hands-on activities and real-world examples.

Setting up an in-class activity in which students build vocabulary words or prepare a presentation is an easy and effective way to teach seniors how to use touchscreens.

Teachers can encourage them to put the skills they’ve learned into practice by providing hands-on, real-world activities for their users.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

As with any new task, it’s not unusual for users to become flustered when learning how to work smart devices.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling; other teachers and trainers are there to support you!


Teachers who are working with seniors should remember that patience is key. Learning how to use new touchscreen devices can be overwhelming.


By understanding that it takes time to navigate innovative technology successfully, teachers will better support their students through the learning process. Patience is key when teaching seniors how to work with touchscreens!

As more and more educators begin integrating educational technologies into their classroom lessons, it’s important to remember that not everyone will feel comfortable using these devices. When working with seniors, it’s their skills — not their age — that should be considered.

Make sure that screens are large enough so that people can see what’s on them.



Touchscreens may be the future of education, but they’re certainly not for everyone. Older adults often have difficulty learning how to use these devices because their skills are being taken into account instead of just their age.

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