Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-1950 fax
Students help seniors connect with technology
Motivated by a desire to help senior citizens "connect with technology" and by an enthusiasm for computers, sophomore Tony (George) Pizza is dedicating Saturday mornings to teaching computer skills to senior citizens.
He and four Miami friends volunteer to provide the classes for free. And they’re not doing it for any kind of academic credit, either.
"I think senior citizens are often disconnected from the technology world," explains the computer science and systems analysis major. "I would like to communicate with my grandmother through e-mail, but no one is available to teach her how to use it."
So he’s taken the initiative to teach other grandparents how to navigate the Internet and use e-mail.
After presenting his plan to the Oxford Senior Citizens Center, Pizza offered the first class in November. The class proved to be popular: Beginning with an initial 14 senior citizen students, the sign-up list by the end of last semester reached 40.
Pizza limits class size to 16-18 so that he and his fellow volunteers can offer individual instruction. Helping teach the course are his "best friends" Shannon Barazda, sophomore marketing major; Marc Caporini, junior biochemistry major; Scott Patterson, sophomore biochemistry major; and George Poulos, sophomore finance major.
This semester, the three-part class has already been offered twice. The second series started Feb. 10. Classes are held Saturdays from 9-11 a.m in a Kreger Hall computer lab.
It’s important for Miami’s computer science and systems analysis department to serve the community, and this project, initiated by Pizza, meets significant and overlooked needs in the Oxford community, said Doug Troy, department chair.
Sharon Peterson, director of the Oxford Senior Citizens Center, says she’s received "great feedback about the class," which is advertised mainly by word of mouth and in the center’s newsletter.
"Seniors have told me how much they enjoy the classes and what a great group of young people (the students) are to work with," she says.
Pizza plans to continue teaching the computer class for senior citizens until he graduates. He would like to train other students to teach the class after he leaves Miami, and he has begun to develop course material.
Senior citizens interested in taking the class may contact the Oxford Senior Citizens Center at 523-8100.
Date Published: 03/01/2001