Ferndale Senior Activity Center Manager Karma Wells said she was a bit surprised upon learning her son did not know how to attach a file to an email or to use a spreadsheet for doing math. He had come to her for assistance since these were being required as part of his 6th grade lessons.
“6th graders are issued tablet computers and are expected to use them,” Wells said. “Youngsters can be fast-fingered electronic gamers and text and social media savvy, but totally unprepared for sixth grade.” She said the gap between what her son had been taught and what was being expected provided the spark for the Hi! Tech project.
The Hi! Tech project classes will partner 5 new 6th graders with 5 seniors. There will be 4 2-hour sessions that will cover using 1) using email, 2) creating documents using Microsoft Word, 3) creating spreadsheets with Microsoft Excel and 4) using Microsoft OneNote for data organization and storage of computer files.
The Hi! Tech project will bring together a multi-generational group that share a desire to master needed computer skills. Wells said class participants, who would likely otherwise never meet, will team up to accomplish their goals.
The sessions will be free and offered to the general public including seniors through the Ferndale Senior Activity Center and youth through recommendations by the Boys and Girls Club Ferndale Clubhouse and the Ferndale School District. The program will be offered twice serving a total of 20 students.
The first session is expected to be held just before school begins and Wells was unsure how soon after the second session will follow.
The program is happening, Wells said, thanks to a grant from the Whatcom Community Foundation.