Generations Exchange Tech Skills, Life Lessons

CAROL STREAM, IL (May 4, 2015) — Residents of Windsor Park, a Covenant retirement community, are able to share life’s wisdom with a much younger generation while learning computer skills at the same time.

CCSD93 and Windsor Park Email VersionTwice a month, students from the local elementary and middle schools help conduct technology classes for the residents. The school district donated the 25 laptop computers used during the training.

“Our residents have life experiences and wisdom that transcend the classroom,” said Karen Larson, Windsor Park’s executive director. “While the students teach them how to use technology, our residents teach them about life.”

Although nearly 60 percent of senior adults are Internet users, according to the Pew Research Center, seniors continue to lag behind when it comes to using new technology.

Faculty from the CCSD 93 school district conducted a focus group with Windsor Park residents and then used the findings to survey the community about what skills they would like to learn. Faculty then created the curriculum.

The students teach skills that include creating Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, navigating the Internet, as well as how email, use FaceTime, and blog.

School superintendent Bill Shields described the interaction as a “win-win,” explaining, “As an organization, it’s essential that CCS93 gives back to the community in a variety of ways. We hope that this partnership will not only help our students to appreciate the wisdom and life experience that members of the older generation can offer, but will assist seniors to appreciate the talents and resources of the youngest generation.”

Larson agreed, saying, “Our residents are an important resource for the local community. Their need to give back and contribute is as strong as ever, and they’re always looking for opportunities for personal growth.”

A local TV news station aired a segment on the program.

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