Smiles brighten the room like the sun bursting out of the clouds on a rainy day as the senior citizens greet their middle school student and begin to chat excitedly about vacation destinations.
"Where would you like to go today? " asks Addie B holding up the iPad and begins to record her partner.
"I've never been to Europe, I would like to go to France," Carole Obrecht said with a twinkle in her eyes. "It has always been a dream of mine."
After the interviews, they begin tapping together on their iPad, soaring outside the classroom walls with the Maps app and Trip Advisor to their dream destinations. Conversation and laughter fill the air as the partners tap, swipe, and record their adventure with the camera and Keynote apps.
Obrecht is one of 10 senior citizens enrolled in the seven week intergenerational computer class, Tapping Together, offered by Bellevue Public Schools and the Bellevue Community Center. The course met every Thursday afternoon this spring from 2:00-3:00.
Not only is the class is unique because of the age of the learners, but also because the 6th grade students are the teachers! The magic happens as the iKids slide into the drivers seat and share their iPad expertise with their senior citizen partner. These connected partners capture the essence of teaching and learning. They are eager, engaged, and joyful and the room buzzes with activity. Students have a two day per week commitment. They are learners on Mondays, and then become teachers on Thursdays.
This spring, the course centered around the theme, Oh the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss. Go has several meanings for these learners. Over the seven weeks, the partners plan and go on a virtual vacation as they go new places on the iPad by utilizing a number of apps that come standard with the iPad and several paid apps too. They also go on a journey in friendship. These relationships develop into friendships that often go beyond the end of class.
The course concludes with a Celebration of Learning when the partners share their adventure. The course will offered again in the 2013-2014 school year. There will be one course in the fall and spring and senior citizens can register by contacting Robert Ingram at 402-827-1840. For more information, check out the course website at http://www.intergenclass.weebly.com.
Written by Ann Feldmann
Check out the video of the course from spring 2013 below.