In our digital world, it’s not surprising to find instances where youth can be the teacher. In Columbia, Maryland teens and even younger help seniors with learning how to use new technology. At the ’50 Plus Center’ free technology classes are offered to adults 50 and older but the teachers are often teenagers or even younger.
Myra Stafford is 73 and signed up for the workshop to learn how to use her iPad. “My daughter gave it to me. She’s been long waiting for me to use it.” Ms. Stafford says she is learning quickly about the device and adds that she enjoys learning from younger people.
Eleven-year-old Zhion Perkins teaches Ms. Stafford. He says that patience is very important when working with older adults. “You have to be really, really patient, you know, because some of them might not know as well as others, so you have to be really patient.”
The director of 50 Plus Center, Meridy McCague, says the center offers many other kinds of workshops for older residents of Columbia. The activities include playing cards and physical exercise classes. Watch Video
Ms. McCague added the senior technology workshop last year after the center received several iPads from a local community organization. Since then about 100 senior citizens have signed up for the workshop. She says the classes are necessary for seniors to connect with the world around them.
Kerry Hannon is a career and retirement expert and says teaching senior citizens about technology can prove helpful for the economy.
Madison Lam is a 17-year-old teacher for the workshop and says she also learns a lot from helping seniors. “I think I’ve learned a lot on how to connect with people and work with them because I’m usually a shy person so I’m not good at connecting with others besides my family and friends. So I’ve learned to be more outgoing.”
Safire Windley head’s the Youth and Teen Center that operates the program. She says young people like Madison gain more than just social skills from teaching older residents. “I find in this day and age, our younger people, they’re trying to explore and find out -how they do they add value to life, just trying to find their way. This is something where they’re needed and their skill set is valued and it gives them purpose.”
Read Article (Jonathan Evans | voanews.com | 09/18/2014)
Getting to know your first smartphone can be exciting, but learning what you can do with it can be overwhelming. An environment where you can be shown what to do and ask questions can make a huge difference in the learning experience.
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