The "Useful Apps Club"
Unlock the potential of your smartphone or tablet to improve your life. Find useful Apps and learn how to use them.
The Useful Apps Club is for older adults and Boomers who have a smartphone or tablet (or are thinking of getting one) and need help to turn it into a useful tool.
Learn from your peers and from our analyst team, how to use your smartphone or tablet to help with tasks like:
- remembering things;
- getting rides from A to B;
- reading the menu in a restaurant when it is dark, or you forgot your reading glasses;
- staying in touch with family; or
- finding music you like whenever you want it.
To see the sort of exploring we have been doing, check out our "Useful Apps for Older Adults" page.
Learn How to Use Apps that your Peers Find Useful
By joining the Useful Apps Club you will get a new installment each month of our Useful Apps Lessons. These lessons will arrive in your email In-box, and will connect you to a series of video lectures, audio discussions, and online articles designed to introduce you to a new App (or group of Apps) that can make your everyday life better in some way.
The lessons will include everything you need to learn how to use these Apps yourself. And there will be the chance to ask questions, and interact online with the Tech-enhanced Life analyst team, and other older adults who are members of this Club.
Learn More Below
If you are like many of our Longevity Explorers, you are intrigued by the potential of smartphones and tablets, but don't feel you are really getting the benefit of that potential right now. Either you have a smartphone or tablet and are not really sure how to get the most from it, or you don't have one and are wondering whether it would do anything useful enough to justify the cost and annoyance of getting up to speed on this new technology.
Or, perhaps you are an older adult who is a savvy iThing user (or Android user), and see your peers floundering with this new technology, and wish you could share some of what you know with others to help them.
We created the Useful App Club as a way for people to learn how to turn a smartphone (tablet) into a really useful everyday tool that can help with everyday activities. And share what they learn with others.
If this sounds like it would interest you, we would love you to join our club. As you will see if you read on, the club caters for a wide range of different skill sets and abilities. All you need is a desire to learn and be part of our exploration club. You can do all the learning online, and at your own pace. There is no rush, and we actually picture most people learning a little each month over say a 12 month period.
Our members are discovering lots of useful things they can do with their smartphones and tablets. Here are a few of the examples.
Reading the menu without reading glasses, or when it is dark
Our explorers have found, tried out, and like an App that turns your phone into a lighted magnifying glass. It lets you easily read fine print, regardless of how dark it is, and is especially handy when you forget your reading glasses at the restauarant. And all you need is your smartphone, not an ugly and stigmatizing magnifying glass or other "aid".
We have been exploring a series of useful Apps that make getting around easier. They include:
- Apps that can summon a taxi or ride share at the drop of the hat;
- Apps that let you know exactly how many minutes remain until the next bus arrives;
- Mapping Apps that give you clear directions how to drive from point A to B, or how to walk from place C to place D;
- An App that helps you find the nearest (and or cheapest) gas station;
- Apps that help you find how to get around by public transport — which bus goes where, and the like.
- I forgot where I parked: Help me find my car.
We have scratched the surface of this interesting theme with Apps like these:
- An App that finds an interesting new restaurant to try when you are travelling; and
- An App that translates that confusing street sign in a foreign language on your vacation.
After you sign up as a member of the Useful Apps Club, you will get a short and simple questionaire sent to you by email. This questionaire will help us decide whether you would benefit from some help with the basics of tablet or smartphone use, or are ready to dive right into exploring useful Apps.
If you are ready for the Useful Apps, we will send you each month a new installment of the Useful Apps Lessons (by email) for about four months (Semester 1 of the Apps Club). If it looks like you could use some help first with the basics, we will suggest resources to help you with that too (see below), and then start sending the Useful Apps Lessons once you are ready for them.
Useful Apps Lessons
Each of the monthly Useful Apps Lessons will focus on a particular theme we have been exploring. For example, a recent theme has been "Getting Around", described above (see examples).
In the Useful Apps Lesson of the month you will get an update on what our explorers are uncovering. This might include a list of the most useful Apps we have discovered in the thematic area. It might include simple video instructions showing you how to use a specific App. Or it might include feedback from other explorers who have used the Apps we are exploring, and have tips and suggestions.
Over the course of Semester 1 (a four month period) we will uncover and explore a number of "Useful Apps", and the material members will receive will include how to find, download, and install these Apps; what they are useful for; and detailed discussion of how to actually use them.
Not just for "Experts"
We have designed the Useful Apps Club to accomodate people of all levels of skill with technology.
Some of our members have a desire to get up to speed on some of the basics of smartphone use first before moving on to our App Lessons. They want to learn about things like how to connect to Wi-Fi, how to get online, how to search, and how to download and install Apps. We think there are already some good resources out there for mastering these basics, and we expect to point our members to those "best of breed" resources as needed.
So, don't be put off joining just because you think you "are not an expert".
Opportunity to ask questions, and help select themes we explore
In addition to this "learning" material, once we start Semester 2, members of the Useful Apps Club will be able to ask questions about any of the Apps we are exploring, and get answers from the Tech-enhanced Life analyst team.
We have quite a list of interesting topics and themes we plan to explore in the future. As a member, you will get to help decide the order we explore them in if you wish, and suggest themes you would especially like us to explore.
Who Does the Research?
The Useful Apps Lessons have been developed as a result of our research into Useful Apps for Older Adults & Boomers, conducted primarily by the Tech-enhanced Life analyst team, but with lots of feedback and inputs from some of our Longevity Explorer circles who are interested in Apps.
Learn more about the research behind our App selections, and the team that does the work.
The Useful Apps Club is free for Semester 1. Graduates of Semester 1 will be invited to participate in Semester 2 as well. Semester 2 will likely have a small fee to participate, and we will launch Semester 2 when we have sufficient demand. There is no obligation to take part in Semester 2, even if you start Semester 1.
If you are ready to start Semester 1 now, click the green button below.
Who can join?
Our Useful Apps Club is for people of all skill levels. It involves learning from experts (including members of the Tech-enhanced Life team) as well as learning from your peers, most likely including some who have similar levels of familiarity with smartphones or tablets as do you. Anyone can join, but our target audience is older adults and Boomers, who want to unlock the potential of their smartphone or tablet to improve their quality of life.
Do you need to be Tech-savvy?
No, you do not. But you need to have a desire to learn, be willing to try some things, and ask questions if need be. And you need to have some type of smartphone or tablet.