DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

January 16, 2014

Londonderry students, seniors take on technology

Local youngsters offer technology help to seniors

By Julie Huss
jhuss@derrynews.com

---- — LONDONDERRY — Beverly Ford came to the senior center with a notebook and a list of things she wanted to accomplish.

That included learning how to download her iTunes account, manage passwords and navigate her iPad.

Ford was one of several local seniors participating in ASK, or Ask Some Kids, technology workshop Saturday. It was hosted by the middle school’s FIRST Lego team, the Piratechs.

The free technical support session gave older citizens a chance to bring in their devices and get help from computer-savvy students.

“I came last year when I first got the iPad,” Ford said. “And I’m writing everything down.”

Ford showed off her notebook full of notes. She carefully marked off every item completed on the list.

Helping seniors is part of the Piratechs’ mission, said team advisor Kim Fusaris. She and husband Paul have led the local Lego students for several years.

Fusaris said most of the students have been together for many of those years.

The team’s work includes three pieces: the robotics challenge, a project piece and a teamwork challenge.

In this case, it was a team mission to help seniors learn about technology

“We pick a problem and they create a solution,” Fusaris said. “The robots are one thing; this affects more people and helps more.”

Lucille Doerr brought her laptop to the center to brush up on her skills.

“I’ve been here a couple of times,” Doerr said. “They are so smart.”

She said she hopes more seniors will take advantage of the computer help.

Eighth-grader Carolyn Stoller said it’s important to teach others the way around a computer.

“Technology is a big part of our lives,” she said. “And it doesn’t always do what you think it will do.”

Senior Tony Peter joked with the students and said he was in the state of “total confusion,” but was learning a lot. Peter was working on downloading some items and got expert advice from the students, he said.

“They showed me how to download a different browser,” Peter said. “That solved the problem.”

The Piratechs will continue to help seniors with another program planned to help older citizens stay safe when they shovel snow.

Students spoke to the Town Council on Dec. 2 to give updates on how they want to move forward with this part of their challenge piece.

Fusaris said she wants to continue to spread the word that help is out there for seniors. It’s a cooperative effort that helps both age groups.

“It’s an easy way for kids to give back and the seniors love it, too,” she said.

The next technology session is April 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Senior Center. Students are also available to go to senior living facilities and complexes for technology work.

Visit the Piratechs at piratechs.org for information.