Originally published in The Weekly Packet, February 20, 2014
Brooksville students offer iPad help for local adults
Brooksville student John Bakeman and Brooksville Town Clerk Amber Bakeman work through an iPad problem during a brief training session Monday, February 10, 2014.
by Rich Hewitt
It was all touch screens, apps and iPads Monday, February 10, at the Town House as a group of fifth- and sixth-grade students from the Brooksville Elementary School provided an introduction to the new-fangled technology for a handful of adults.
Since November, the students have been learning about iPads and how to use them, and on Monday, the students became the teachers.
“Our teacher asked if we could help teach people about them,” said sixth-grader John Bakeman. “I think they’re trying to get us warmed up to them.”
The youngsters were enthusiastic tutors for their older protégés. Although they had prepared a short presentation using their iPad as a projector, most of what they did was hands-on, one-on-one instruction.
“They’re doing great,” said Hope Osborn, another sixth-grade student. “They’re doing the kinds of things we did when we first used the iPads.”
John added that it was easier for the younger students because they’d grown up using electronics, while the adults had not.
“They didn’t have it when they were in school or as teenagers,” he said. “They’re having to learn it right off.”
One of the hardest things for the new iPad enthusiasts, they said, was dealing with the touch screen, especially the on-screen key board. The student/teachers spent a lot of time showing them how to use their fingers to get access to items on the machines. But the young tutors moved through the room, providing instruction and encouragement.
For some of the adults, it was their first contact with the iPad technology. Others already have an iPad and came to learn more about it.
“It was helpful,” said Judy Madson, who sat in on the class with her husband, Harry. “We learned some things and we have some plans to do some different programs.”
“They really know their stuff,” added Freida Peasley, the town’s treasurer, one of several town office staffers who sat in on the class.
Teaching helps the students learn what they’re teaching, according to David Davis, the technology teacher at the school.
“Any time a student learns a skill and then teaches it to someone else, it reinforces that skill,” he said.
Davis said he was impressed with how well the youngsters interacted with the adults during the session, listening to questions, processing the question and working through the answer.
And though it was technology that was on display Monday, communication was also part of the lesson, according to Cammie Lepper, the fifth- and sixth-grade teacher.
The students have been working on speaking skills during the year, and when the town librarian, Syliva Tapley, said there was a need to provide townspeople with education on technology in general, it was a golden opportunity for students to, not only hone their iPad skills, but to practice their speaking skills as well, she said.
“It’s a great way to reinforce our curriculum,” Lepper said, watching her students at work. “Everybody’s learning; you can’t ask for more than that.”