Red Canyon kids share tech savvy
EAGLE — Nancy Muller is the proud owner of both an iPad and an iPhone. Trouble is, instead of making her life easier, the technology tended to intimidate its 80-year-old owner.
But never fear, teenagers are near.
Just ask anyone over the age of 50 and he or she can testify to a proven fact: When you can’t figure out your laptop or your tablet or your smartphone, the best course of action is to hand it over to someone who is too young to order a drink or fill out a ballot. Teens are the tech wizards in the new world order and a program launched this spring has paired up Red Canyon High School students with residents of the Golden Eagle Senior Center to offer technical assistance on one side and invaluable experience on the other.
The idea for the tech assistance class came from an actual request. David Pearce, from the Golden Eagle site council, contacted the Eagle Public Library staff to see if they could provide tech instruction. Adult services librarian Robyn Bryant then reached out to Julie Richards of the Red Canyon High School faculty to see if she had any students who would like to work with the older adults.
“I am learning things I didn’t think I would ever learn, at my age,” said Muller. “I could type faster on a typewriter (than on her computer) because that is what I learned in high school.”
However, after a few sessions with her teen instructor, Muller is now using her tablet to launch a genealogy project.
“I turned 80 in January and I didn’t think I would still be learning things. But I am,” she said.
The Red Canyon High School students hold their tech lab between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Eagle Library. Golden Eagle resident Susie Keysor has been attending since the sessions began back in March and she has vastly increased her computer tablet skills.
“It’s all been useful, or I wouldn’t keep coming back,” said Keysor.
This week’s lesson was tailored to Keysor’s Denver Broncos and Colorado Rockies loyalties.
“We are working on how to watch ESPN live on her tablet,” said student Torre Evancho.
Evancho, a senior at Red Canyon High School, has also attended every session of the tech help group. She even made an amazing connection. Evancho’s goal after graduation is to become a special effects makeup artist in Hollywood. While she was talking to one of her senior students, she learned the woman’s daughter does makeup for “The Walking Dead” and “Sons of Anarchy” on television — two of Evancho’s favorite shows. The senior student offered her daughter’s contact info to the high school senior.
Red Canyon student Dominick Kervin said he has helped set up email accounts and giving basic smart phone operations lessons. He noted that in today’s world, everyone needs to have some technical knowledge to stay in touch with family and friends.
Francisco Rodriquez has proven to be one of the most effective student instructors.
“Any questions that he is asked, Francisco has been able to answer and even take it a few steps further. He is an amazing teacher, very knowledgable and patient,” Richards said.
Rodriguez said he learned a lot about how to teach technology when his father purchased a smartphone. Initially, the elder Rodriquez was frustrated by his new phone and tempted to switch back to his flip model. However, gradually his son walked him through the device’s capabilities and convinced his dad that the new phone was his friend not his foe.
“I learned that I needed to go slow and make sure he understood before I moved on,” Rodriguez said. He has carried that teaching philosophy on to his work with the Eagle seniors.
Richards noted that the class’s biggest accomplishment has been to bring together two groups that don’t often interact with one another.
“The way they relate together is great. They just have so much fun together,” she said.
It would be really hard to spark a wildfire anywhere near Vail Mountain or Beaver Creek right now. Still, unattended campfires will always draw attention.