Kids Giving Back was thrilled to partner with the Juanita Nielsen Community Centre, Woolloomooloo and SCEGGS students teaching computer skills to adults who are ‘non-digital natives’ in Mac made Easy classes. The relationship between old and young combined with the relaxed atmosphere of the community centre made for very effective and fun learning. Following is a description of Mac Made Easy written by the Centre’s course coordinator, Micheal:

“In October 2013, Juanita Nielsen Community Centre, in conjunction with the NGO ‘Kids Giving Back” and SCEGGS girls school in Darlinghurst, started an intergenerational IT (MAC) training course.

image007The goal was to provide people who don’t have the hardware or the ability to access a class, to gain confidence with an Apple Mac computer interface and its internet capabilities.

The class takes the form of a 1 on 1 learning format where the girls, 14 to 15 years old, are teamed up with an adult, under the supervision of a SCEGGS representative and a Council Staff member.

Classes are an hour long, and the program runs over 10 sessions for the duration of the SCEGGS school term. The feedback has been very positive.

P1010027 (Small)The main challenge that older people have in terms of Mac computers and becoming familiar with the interface, is the lack of after-sales service that can help them gain a greater understanding of the machine. The Genius Bar, an info and training service provided by Apple stores, is quite intimidating and alien to most; this coupled with the fact that all things Mac have been presented through advertising and promotion as being a media of the young and the hip, act as a barrier to older people….who may not have the support and learning experience offered by Mac’s peer to peer learning module.

At Mac made Easy ( 1 on 1) the SCEGGS girls are paired up with an older student, and each pair works on one of JNCC’s MacBooks.

The first ten minutes is given over to establishing connections, determining general levels of the IT experience of the student, their likes and dislikes, areas of strength and weakness. From there the SCEGGS girls establish a rapport, which forms the corner stone of the peer to peer relationship.

image009The inter-generational quality of the program is unique to the class, acting to break down barriers, in age, education and experience. The older students increase their levels of knowledge and confidence using Macs and know that the source of this information is sound, coming from young girls who are vastly more adept with computers and who have benefited from peer to peer learning. On the other hand the SCEGGS girls have to communicate in a clear concise manner that makes them easily understood, as they teach the necessary skills to solve Mac challenges. This helps the girls formulate their ideas, as well as being cognisant of what is being said and how they can troubleshoot problems. Successful trouble shooting leads to increased confidence of both teacher and student.

It is an intense hour, and rather than being a front on class with one teacher the class is made up of independent cells, with each student having a teacher to himself or herself. The students thrive on the one-on-one attention and the SCEGGS girls thrive on the fact that they are now the teachers – unfamiliar and  challenging to them, yet ultimately very rewarding.”