STOW: Akron resident Thomas Karr returned to school for the first time in 60 years on Friday morning for “Tech Talk.”
The program is held each year in the school’s library by the student council to offer one-on-one technology training to senior citizens.
Kathy McConnell, assistant recreation supervisor for parks and recreation, said this is the third year that the department has collaborated with the high school on the event.
“It’s a positive thing for both the seniors and the students,” McConnell said. “Students are able to see senior adults who are active in their community and who still want to learn.”
McConnell said programs such as “Tech Talk” help break down any misconceptions for the students and the seniors.
Karr and a group of local senior citizens worked one-on-one with the students to learn more about Facebook, Twitter, Skype, handheld devices and computer programs.
“We are coming here to try to catch up,” said Eva Johnson of Stow. “Every year there are so many changes.”
Johnson said that her son got her a laptop and it wasn’t until the program that she learned from the students that it is equipped with a camera.
She learned that she could use the camera to a have a face-to-face conversation with her children and grandchildren via Skype.
Johnson said it is social media programs that enable her daughter who lives in Arizona to communicate with her husband, who is currently deployed overseas.
“She could just go on there and talk to her husband and he could see her and their two children,” Johnson said.
Johnson said that she really enjoys taking the time to learn about technology and plans to come to “Tech Talk” again next year.
Anna Pyle decided to return to the program again this year.
“I thought it was very helpful,” Pyle said. “When you live alone, you don’t have someone there to show you as much, and it is nice to have the opportunity. It’s a changing world.”
Elaine Johnson, a retired history teacher, said she also had some catching up to do.
“Computers take so much time to learn,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she loves doing research online and came to learn more about YouTube so she can teach herself how to play the piano.
“For retirement, the history department got me a keyboard,” Johnson said. “I want to watch how-to lessons on YouTube to learn how to play.”
Johnson also got a Kindle and said she is eager to become familiar with it.
“This is marvelous that they are doing this,” Johnson said. “It’s very much needed. I’ve gone to a lot of classes and workshops, but if you don’t follow it up right away, you forget.”
Hayden Baer, a freshman and a member of the student council, said he was fascinated by the fact that many of the seniors had never used YouTube before. He said he was happy to have the opportunity to work one-on-one with them.
“Technology is really starting to become a part of our lives,” Baer said “We have grown up with technology and it is almost like second nature for a lot of us to know what it is and how we can work it. I feel that it is important that we do this to give back and really help educate the older generations about technology and how they benefit from it.”
Baer said one of the highlights of the day was when he was handed a picture of Thomas Karr when he was serving in the Korean War.
“He said remember when you see an old person at one point in our lives, we looked like this,” Baer said “I thought it was really cool. They are our history and one day we will be the history of our younger generation.”
Heather Beyer can be reached at HMBeyer@aol.com.