Bridging the generational divide

Students offer some pointers on modern technology to seniors computer club

Joyce Bevan gets some tips on using an IPad from Monterey middle school Grade 6 students Olivia Johnston

Joyce Bevan gets some tips on using an IPad from Monterey middle school Grade 6 students Olivia Johnston

There may be a generational divide separating them but it took only a small sample of modern technology to bring them together.

A Grade 6 class from Monterey middle school has been making a regular trek to the Monterey Recreation Centre to work with members of the seniors computer club.

A recent donation has allowed the computer club to purchase eight IPads.

“We decided we would have three sessions with the students, with the seniors and children working together,” said Ena Cooke, president of Monterey Centre and the computer club.

She said learning to operate the IPads had been a bit of a struggle for some club members and the students just seem to have a knack for the technology.

“Boy did they show us things,” said Cooke. “They even gave us homework.”

And the students enjoyed playing teacher for a day.

“It’s fun showing people how to use these things because they can see what the new generation is like,” said 11-year-old Jenny Hodge.

Computer club member Arlene Grbavec said while she has an IPad at home, she has mainly used her computer rather than learn the different operating procedures.

“I do have an IPad but I didn’t know how to do these things that they’re teaching us,” she said “And they’re such a lovely group of kids.”

While the IPads may represent the latest technology for some of the club members, the students see them as an ordinary part of their day-to-day lives.

“I have had the iPad for a long time and it’s real interesting to see how people learn to use the different apps,” said 11-year-old Minh-Vy Ly.

The relationship between members of the Monterey Centre and the middle school students began last year when Lana Rud brought her Grade 6 class to work with the crafts club.

“It was about connecting seniors with the kids,” said Rud. “We just wanted to be more of a community. It’s about forming relationships across generations.”

She said the students’ aptitude for technology made working together on the IPads a natural fit. The seniors and students have now got together for a pair of sessions, with the third and final session slated for next week.

“The first day we walked in, everybody was just looking at each other, because they’re strangers plus there’s a huge generation gap. But the minute they start talking about stories, they see the elders here as people,” said Rud.

And while the seniors get some pointers on modern technology, Rud said the students gain a lot from the sessions as well.

“The fact that they have something they can share builds their self-esteem and confidence,” she said. “I hope when they see these people on the street they’ll stop to say ‘Hello, how are you.’ This is just a vehicle for something bigger.”