Bridging a tech divide: Students at Francis Tuttle help seniors become ‘Cyber Seniors’

Originally posted by Oklahoma News 4.

OKLAHOMA CITY–When Bill Groh first met his teacher Jane Van Hoosen, his cell phone might as well have been a paperweight.

“I didn’t know what to do,” he admits.

It was the same with Bertie Poole and Betty Nelson.

“I still need to learn how to delete things,” they laugh.

Just about the time they got comfortable with their flip phones, their families insisted they upgrade to smart phones.

“I dearly loved my ‘flip flop’ phone,” says Nelson.

“It’s way too intelligent for me,” chuckles Groh.

All three are residents at the Concordia Life Care Community.

They are part of a growing number of residents who signed up for a unique technology class, an 8-week crash course in cell phone navigation and social media skills.

“As the program has evolved, it’s ended up to be more about their iPhone. That seems to be the most popular thing they want to know about,” Terry Wallace, Life and Career Development Director for Francis Tuttle, notes.

Groh learned how to check the weather and stocks with his new phone.

“Texting and Facebook,” lists Nelson.

“I’m completely impressed where she is right now,” said Jamie McFall, Nelson’s teacher.

Class coordinators insist this kind of simple technical knowledge makes a big difference in students’ lives.

“They come to this class and they’re able to realize they can connect with the outside world and with their families. It’s been a great experience for all of them,” Concordia Life Care CEO Danny Eischen said.

These student-teachers come from across the Francis Tuttle campus, and are usually from the top of their respective classes.

On the last Friday before Thanksgiving, these ‘Cyber Seniors’ donned cap and gown to graduate into the 21st century.

Francis Tuttle Director Tom Friedemann told the gathering, “The only thing worse than no experience is old experience.”

Believe it nor not, our phones were invented to make it easier for people to communicate.

This class helps students communicate and helps bridge a technological divide between generations, an added benefit that came from just sitting down and talking.

The Cyber Senior Class at Francis Tuttle Technology Center takes place at the beginning of each fall term.