A unique role reversal occurred in the Spearfish over the past year, and has been met with success.

"Young people are taking time to share their smart phone and iPad technology expertise with adults 50 to 60 years their senior, and the adults are getting the hang of it," explained Leacey E. Brown, SDSU Extension Gerontology Field Specialist.

The program, called TeachSD, is an intergenerational technology program created by SDSU Extension and launched as a pilot project in Spearfish in May 2015.

Now, SDSU Extension is recruiting more young people to become TeachSD Technology Trainers to bring the program to more South Dakota communities. Technology Trainers may be part of youth groups like from churches or clubs. Potential trainers must attend the TeachSD Technology Trainer Seminar offered by SDSU Extension.

Brown said that the adult students often came with questions about cell phones, iPads, laptops, and social media. "After an hour-long session working one-on-one with a teenage teacher, many participants acknowledged they had a better understanding of using Facebook, texting and the features of their smart phone," she explained. "The goal of the program is to help adults become more comfortable with technology which may help them maintain their independence and bolster their ability to communicate with their family and friends via technology."

Student trainer, Bridger Gordon said he was interested to see the array of things the adults wanted to learn. "One gentleman I helped wanted to know how to create folders on his cell phone so he could organize his pictures," Gordon explained. "Another adult learner who attended several sessions often arrived with a list of technology questions."

Kindra Gordon, who served as the Technology Trainer Youth Adviser, calls the project extremely rewarding for both the students and adults.

"It was neat to see someone in their 70's send their first text or Facebook message to a grandchild and the look on their face when they got a message response from that family member," Kindra said. "As well, it was rewarding to see the students put in a position of being appreciated for the skills and knowledge they could offer. It was a confidence booster for them."

Kindra also says the project provided many lessons in communication. "The students had to learn to communicate at a pace and in terms that the adults could understand, and the adults had to communicate what issue they were trying to solve," she said. "But in addition to that, there was an opportunity for conversations to develop about everyday life. It really helped build some connections between the two generations."

To learn more and register, call Leacey E. Brown at 605.394.1722.

Source: iGrow.org


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