A Legacy of Teaching Continues with Technology
Photography by Daniel Smyth
Carol Robinson doesn’t like to be called an expert. The retired teacher happens to be an iPad enthusiast who enjoys sharing her interest for technology with other residents at Twin Lakes.
Life Enriching Communities (LEC) is a family of lifestyle communities and senior living services in Greater Cincinnati, best known for their Twin Towers and Twin Lakes senior living communities. LEC delivers exceptional everyday experiences to everyone they serve, and Robinson is a wonderful extension of their philosophy.
On an average day, she can be found helping a resident with his or her iPad in the rotunda, the library, or during her volunteer shift in the Twin Lakes campus shop.
Robinson first picked up an iPad while caring for her mother in West Virginia. She needed something to keep her mentally stimulated during long days of doctor’s appointments or sitting with her mother.
“I talked myself into ‘playing’ with the iPad – not ‘working’ on it – I didn’t know what I was doing, but I taught myself and fell in love,” she says.
Robinson brought her iPad knowledge to Twin Lakes in 2012 when she moved into one of the apartments.
“It all started when people asked me how my iPad worked,” she says. “I would hold impromptu sessions, then people started calling me to make appointments!”
Jim Mayer, Executive Director of Twin Lakes, asked Robinson to teach some iPad classes for the residents. Although those were successful, one-on-one sessions are ultimately more productive and give more individual attention to the students. Appointments are accepted, but not necessary.
“I’ll teach small groups of people, but more often than not people just catch me in the hall and ask a question,” says Robinson. The self-proclaimed introvert has become quite the people person during her four years at Twin Lakes.
“I spend a lot of time talking to people and getting to know them,” she says. “People usually love to talk and I love to listen, so I’ve found that everyone is so interesting and they have such wonderful stories to tell.”
She begins each iPad session by asking her students what they already know and what they hope to learn. They cover basic skills, how to access the App Store and how to use various apps. What is the teacher’s favorite?
“Amazon of course! Everyone knows I’m the ‘Amazon lady,’ ” Robinson laughs. “The mail lady here is so wonderful, she delivers the big boxes to my apartment. Someone will walk by and ask me, ‘How do you order those things from the internet?’ and then we will start an iPad session.”
Robinson, who earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University in West Virginia, taught in the English department of Raymond Walters College and realized a glaring need for students to become equipped with study skills.
“I taught literature and composition the first year and I realized something was missing with my students; they didn’t know how to study or how to read critically,” she says. “I went to the dean with an outline of what I thought should be done – I wanted a course to teach students how to read, write and study.”
Robinson’s persistence won and she established a writing and study skills program that she served as director or co-director for 25 years. The program is still being taught at the Blue Ash campus of the University of Cincinnati.
She co-authored “Study Skills for Learning Power” in 2000. The book is a conversational, question-generated approach that empowers students to direct their own learning and study habits and to integrate information more effectively.
Retirement didn’t end her passion for teaching others. “I don’t mean it to sound egotistical, but I truly believe I was born to be a teacher. I loved teaching college students, and I still love it– so why stop?”
As for Twin Lakes, Robinson couldn’t be happier with the place she calls home. “Everyone is so friendly, we all want to take care of each other and that means a lot to me.”Twin Lakes is located at 9840 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45242. For more information, call 513.247.1300 or visit www.lec.org.
Twin Lakes is located at 9840 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, OH 45242. For more information, call 513.247.1300 or visit www.lec.org.