Seniors get a helping hand understanding technology


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Christine Bryant
Pat Rogers (left) works with Alie Holly, a 9th-grade student in the Encore Academy, and Nailah Harris, a 9th-grade student in the HS2 Academy, to better understand how to use her iPhone and iPad. Through a new program, Reynoldsburg students are working with senior citizens at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center to answer any questions they may have about electronics.

Before retiring, Pat Rogers was familiar with how to use a computer, but as technology changed, she found herself unsure of how to get the most out of her electronics.

“I’m just not that geeky,” she said, holding up her iPhone and iPad. “When I went to work, I knew about a PC, but not these.”

Rogers was one of a handful of residents who gathered at the Reynoldsburg Senior Center earlier this month to seek assistance from students who are growing up with technology at their fingertips.

The new program – a partnership between Reynoldsburg City Schools and the senior center – benefits seniors who want to learn technology skills, as well as students who are learning important life skills such as communication.

“As we prepare our students for life outside of school, we really need them to develop the soft skills that make them successful employees,” said Scott Bennett, principal of the eSTEM Early College Academy at Reynoldsburg High School. “Clear communication is one of those skills that we are consistently stressing to students.”

The idea first originated when the senior center contacted the district after hearing about a similar program in another state, Bennett said.

“The 50-plus are tech savvy and one of the fastest demographics to embrace social media and this fits right in with our goals to have our students active in the community, so we jumped at the chance to help out,” Bennett said.

As part of the program, students will go to the Reynoldsburg Senior Center one Saturday a month to offer help to seniors in the community with operating electronics. Students from each of the high school academies are participating, and all three junior high schools have been invited as well to take part.

“I’m always helping my grandparents with technology, and thought it would be fun to help out,” said Alie Holly, a 9th-grade student in the Encore Academy.

Holly, along with Nailah Harris, a 9th-grade student in the HS2 Academy, assisted Rogers with learning how to navigate her iPad, from playing music to accessing her web history and closing apps.

“We grew up with this,” said Harris, who got her first iPhone two years ago. “We absorb a lot of this quickly.”

The 50 and older age group is an active demographic and is not afraid to try new things or adapt new methods of communication, making this program a natural fit to bring together students and seniors, Bennett said.

“Technology helps them stay in touch with family and friends, and for our community, it is important for them to see how kind and talented our students are,” he said. “I think that there are often misconceptions about high school and junior high aged students in general. We have great kids who want to help out in their community.”

For senior citizens who would like to get help with operating their electronics, Bennett said they should check the Reynoldsburg Senior Center’s bulletin for information about upcoming sessions, which will occur on April 1, May 13 and June 10. Reynoldsburg students who would like to volunteer may sign up at their school office.


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