One of the hardest things for older adults to do is keep up with the fast-changing world of smartphones, tablets, Twitter and Facebook. So, who-ya-gonna-call? Someone who has grown up in the techno-world.
Meet Josh Seides, a 17-year-old senior at Alpharetta High School in Alpharetta, Georgia. He began helping mostly older adults deal with communications in the 21st century when he started showing his grandparents how to work their new smartphones, as well as use text messaging and create a Facebook page.
“My grandparents live in New York, and they had a hard time communicating with the family,” Seides said. “So every time we went to New York, I would answer their questions about their phone, TVs and so on.” He then decided to do some research to see just how big a problem this was. And it was a big one. He said, “In 2012, my freshman year, I saw that there was this real need, so that’s when I got the idea for Technocademy.”
Technocademy has two segments. The first is a one-on-one to get seniors familiar with the devices – smartphones, notebooks and iPads. Then Seides and his corps of volunteers teach them how to use tutorials online. To date, there are more than 200 tutorials that show people the ins and outs of using their smartphones, how to Skype, email, text and send photos – and all of them are available with one free app.
“We help citizens and veterans with their own devices. And we are interactive, so they learn how to teach themselves at our website, Technocademy.org. So they can watch a lot of tutorials, presentations and videos that they can access anytime. Anything to help people communicate with families more easily. Periodically, we go back and ask the people how well they have learned and how we can improve the presentations.”
It is a rewarding thing to get these folks connected. Seides especially remembers on man he helped learn about his phone. Now, the man can talk to his daughter out of town anytime he wants. Before, he would just wait until she contacted him.
Seides has now launched a special project that will bring his tutorials nationwide through the United Way. Users of his program range from Hawaii to Las Vegas and one person in Salem, Oregon. “We try to make it free for everyone to enjoy their technology,” he said. “We try to make people comfortable learning and keep it open-ended. That way, people can go as deeply into it as they want.”
He has also garnered sponsors for the DVDs that carry tutorials from such heavy hitters as Disney and ABC. A cousin of his put him in touch with a family foundation that has sponsored Technocademy as well. So far, he has raised $10,000 for DVDs and other materials.
This past year, Seides has gotten volunteers to join him to tutor older adults at such assisted living communities as Brookside, Sunrise at Johns Creek and Benton House. They also meet at rec centers and Park Place at Newtown Park in Johns Creek.
Read Article (Hatcher Hurd | northfulton.com | 06/04/2015)
It’s fascinating and inspirational anytime teens help senior citizens. It’s also very interesting to see that teens are alarmed by the high numbers of individuals, mostly older adults, that need assistance learning technology while many tech-savvy adults seem not-to-notice or just turn-a-blind eye.
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