“What’s an app?” a senior asked last week at the Sumner Senior Center.
Thankfully, a team of high school students from Sumner High were there to answer his and any other senior’s questions.
“So many seniors are so afraid to get a smartphone that they still have a flip phone,” said program director Melissa Holt.
After fielding questions from seniors about how to use their tablet and/or smartphone, Holt partnered with leadership students at Sumner High School to teach the basics of smart devices.
Emma Bakke, a senior leadership student, started helping to teach the class last year, and has come back to help teach since.
“We want to give back to the community that supports our school by helping seniors learn,” she said. “We pick new kids every single month to come with us.”
Technology can be difficult to pick up on, but the seniors are learning thanks to the help Bakke and others.
“When you’re 90, it’s hard to know this new stuff,” said Lee Brown, a student in the tech class.
Don Frazier, another student in the tech class, calls his iPhone a “smart aleck” phone, but he’s slowly learning to understand it better.
“They’re teaching me how to (use) Siri,” he said. “And send pictures on Facebook and over text messaging.”
Not only is the class helping seniors learn to navigate their phones and tablets better, it’s help students from Sumner High bridge a generation gap.
“It’s allowed me to get a different perspective,” SHS senior Michaela Ferguson said. “It’s really cool to see how technology makes a difference.”
More important than learning how to navigate his smart device, Quentin Clark, a former educator and substitute teacher in the Dieringer School District, says he enjoys reconnecting with former students.
“I went to the class last time,” the 88-year-old Clark said. “They taught me how to turn the thing on — I think I got that part down. They’re great teachers. I still have a lot to learn, but it’s fun to sit down with the kids.”
Sumner Senior Center Tech Class
First Thursday of the month at the Sumner Senior Center, 15506 62nd St. Ct. E.
For more information, call 253-863-2910.