RovingFiddlehead KidLit

OAKTech: Kids Teaching Seniors Technology

April 1, 2013

Saturday was the first in a new library class series, OAKTech, Older Adults and Kids and Technology. Fifth and sixth graders from the Lego League teams at Lemme and Mann are teaching monthly classes to older adults about Skype, Google Maps and iPads.


The kids are an infectiously enthusiastic bunch who love sharing their knowledge. Most of the older adults who registered for today’s class did not show up, but those who did were appreciative and attentive.¬†As one participant noted, she appreciated “being here with great enthusiasm and skills; enthusiasm and standing right beside me!”

The students prepare a Powerpoint for each class which they first run through quickly while their students listen. The steps are then repeated the steps slowly as the older adults follow along. At this point the children (except for the one guiding the Powerpoint) gather around the older adults to assist as needed. The older adults then repeat the steps on their own knowing that they can still ask the children for help as well as refer to the handouts the children have prepared for them.

The spontaneous tech conversations between the participants and students afterwards were especially exciting to watch (a very indepth ipod preview took place). There will be a summer break and then the classes will resume in the fall.

The impetus for these classes began in December when the Mann Bots (Mann’s Lego League team) approached me to see if they could teach a class on downloading pictures from a camera at the library to fulfill the Lego League’s Seniors Solutions requirement. Of course I said yes! It was a great experience.

The students, seniors and I were all interested in more classes. In January, we learned that Lemme Elementary also chose teaching technology as their Senior Solution and the University of Iowa’s LEAP (Lifetime Enrichment Adult Program) got interested. This provided a bigger pool of student teachers as well as the opportunity to advertise the programs to a large audience, many of whom may not regularly use the library. Win-win. In addition, Lemme and Mann feed into the same junior high school so it is nice way to introduce the students to each other. This partnership is a win on many levels!

A huge thank-you to the parent mentors Katie and Julie and teacher Lisa for their time, not only with OAKTech, but the entire Lego League season!

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