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Summary

4-H Tech Changemakers team address the digital divide between young people and senior citizens by providing education on common technological devices, assisting with one-on-one support, and helping with online activities.

Situation

National 4-H Council and Microsoft are working together through the 4-H Tech Changemakers program to help close the broadband access gap. Currently in the U.S. there are 24 million people who do not have access to high speed broadband internet and millions more lack the digital skills needed to utilize this important tool. According to a Pew Research Center Study, 60% of adults ages 65 and older do not go online. The Tech Changemakers program combines the power of teen leadership with the opportunities technology and broadband access offer to help communities realize the potential of technology as a force for good. Through this program we will elevate teens as teachers to provide training on technology and digital literacy skills to assist adults in 80 communities across 13 states.

Response

4-H Tech Changemakers address the digital divide between young people and senior citizens by providing education on common technological devices, assisting with one-on-one support, and helping with online activities. This vision was accomplished by training 4-H youth to provide training and support to senior citizens related to basic use of every day technology. This support is offered through identified community collaborations, and monthly classes are offered at the Murray County Senior Center focusing on digital literacy skills. Some of the classes offered focus on social media, online shopping, internet safety, video calling, grocery services, and basic skills involving email, contacts, and voicemail.

Impact

This program improves digital literacy for older people in our community through monthly classes offered from September-May. It builds relationships between 4-H youth and older adults taking classes each month. This program also improves leadership skills of 4-H’ers teaching digital literacy monthly to an audience of another generation. Throughout the course of the program, Murray County 4-H had 25 youth leaders teaching sessions and served a total of 15 senior adults. In a survey administered during the final session of the program, every adult respondent indicated that they agreed or strongly agreed with the following statements about the 4-H Tech Changemakers Program: • I learned new technology skills • This activity made me want to learn more about technology • In this activity, I learned ways technology can help me • The teens teaching were knowledgeable about the content for this activity. Participant, Betty Sue Grooms stated, "As you know I have been out of school for a while now and technology was not a word in existence at that time...These young leaders that we had teach us technology classes were not only kind and caring toward us but very patient with us…These students were excellent teachers and throughout the year they became our friends as well.” Nineteen youth Tech Changemakers also completed a post-survey regarding their experience. Results indicated the following: • 100% agreed with the statements that the 4-H Tech Changemakers Project is a place where you get to teach others what you have learned and a place where you have a chance to be a leader • 100% agreed or strongly agreed that the 4-H Tech Changemakers Project inspired them to help their community • 100% agreed or strongly agreed that in the 4-H Tech Changemakers Project, they learned new technology skills • 79% agreed or strongly agreed that the 4-H Tech Changemakers Project made them want to learn more about technology • 100% agreed with the statement that in the 4-H Tech Changemakers Project, I see how technology can help change my community for the better Tech Changemaker, Charlsey Richards stated, “I have met some wonderful older people that I may not have if I weren’t in this program and they have told me some great stories about their lives. I like that they make us feel helpful when we are teaching them the technology and when they understand something how they get excited just like we do. I now see what my mom meant when she said you don’t have to be an adult to be a good leader, you just have to care about others.” This program is scheduled to be repeated for a third year at the same location once the senior center opens back up.

State Issue

Home & Life Skills

Details

  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: National
  • County: Murray
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • 4-H Youth

Author

  • Skojac, Stephanie

Collaborator(s)

CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Bledsoe, Lori Purcell
  • Richards, Connie Renae

Non-CAES Collaborator(s)

  • Whealy, Jessica
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