The Tribeca Trib: College Students Take Octogenarians Into the Internet Age

Jean Coppola’s gerontechnology class and their elder students’ graduation were featured in an article in the Tribeca Trib. (Left: Roz Carlin, with her iPad, in her Hallmark apartment. Carl Glassman/Tribec Trib).

Jean Coppola’s gerontechnology class and their elder students were featured in an article in the Tribeca Trib.

An excerpt from the Tribeca Trib:

One after another, the graduates and their teachers came forward to accept their certificates and testify to the joys of entering the Internet age.

Gleefully, they spoke of going on Facebook, Skyping and connecting with family members who are too busy to talk on the phone but find time for email.

“Thank you, my little Josh!” said Blossom Licht, looking up at her teach­er, Josh Dansky. “I got my own email address. I?learned to shop online!”

“I’m shocked that I made it,” ex-claimed Dorothy Campbell, standing beside her grinning instructor, Evelyn Shaw. “My last experience with anything mechanical was the electric typewriter. I really didn’t want to learn the computer.”

Then again, Campbell insisted that her MacBook Air was not a true computer. “Because a computer can understand if you hate it!” she said.

Campbell thanked her teacher for bearing with her, but Shaw replied that it was all fun. “By the end of the lessons I?didn’t have to teach her anything,” she told the audience. “So we would just hang out and go on the Internet.”

Edith Barth was another of Josh Dansky’s students, and she put her arm around him as she spoke.

“I enjoyed this class no end. I was sad when he left. But he said if I have any problems, ‘Call me.’ I have his name and number on my refrigerator.”

Dansky smiled.

“She’s a great student,” he said. “She learns fast. Her greatest problem is that she doubts herself.”

“I’m going to miss him,” Barth said.

“I’m going to miss her,” he said.

From the back of the room, the Pace students’ professor and the co-founder of the program, Jean Coppola, of the university’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, couldn’t stop smiling. She had heard it all many times before.

The school’s gerontechnology program, begun in 2005, is the prototype for many schools around the country.

“We keep track of the older adults’ cognitive functions, self-image, depression,” Coppola said, adding that studies show that as seniors become more techno­logically savvy, they have an in­creased sense of well-being and stay more alert.

The studies also track the college students’ changing attitudes toward older people. Before the course started, Cop­­pola said, “some of them blogged that ‘Old people are mean and smelly.’” Those prejudices disappear too, she said.

To prove it, there were lots of hugs and kisses and promises to meet again.

“The class was on­ly one semester,” Dan­sky told Licht. “You have my email if you need anything.”

After receiving her certificate, Fran­ces Berrick turned to her teacher, Sam Eaton. “Thank you so much, Sam,” she said. “I finally know what I’m doing. I have the confidence to use a computer without the teacher.”

“I definitely made a new friend,” Eaton announced.

Read the full article:

The Tribeca Trib – College Students Take Octogenarians Into the Internet Age.

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