Teenagers taught Margaret Stewart so much about technology in one hour that she's going iPad shopping this weekend.
Although she has an iPhone, the senior and former teacher said she wasn't using it to capacity. With her eyesight going, Stewart wanted to move on to the larger iPad but had no idea how to use it. But students at Superior Collegiate and Vocational Institute were there to help Wednesday as they hosted the Cyber-Seniors program, which brings seniors to the classroom and sees students as teachers of new technology.
"I understand it now. I'll be able to go home and know how to use it," Stewart said while taking notes.
"Not only do they know how to do it, they can tell someone else how to do it and that's a different skill."
The new students were busy transferring photos to send to loved ones, setting up email accounts and trying out Facetime with help from people like 14-year-old Christopher Huls. A Grade 9 student, Huls said it's nice to be able to pass on digital skills to other people.
"It feels pretty good teaching someone," he said.
Teanna Bertin-McLeod, also 14, saw how difficult it was for her cousins in Winnipeg to connect with her grandmother, who would only use a telephone. Bertin-McLeod said its nice to show other seniors better ways to stay in touch with their families. The biggest challenge is teaching someone a skill that so many people take for granted.
"It's fun. It's kind of difficult I guess because we know how to use it," she said.
Lakehead Public Schools got the idea after watching the documentary Cyber-Seniors earlier this year. Education officer Leslie Hynnes said the program is about transferring 21 st century skills but also a way for students to connect with seniors.
"This is one way where our students can give back to them as well," she said.
"I belive we're raising a generation of children to think beyond themselves and reach out to the greater community."