Computing Students Help Older People get Web-Wise

14th October 2014

Computing students at Sheffield Hallam University have been helping members of a cancer support group learn to use mobile web technology to improve their quality of life.

Members of the Sheffield Bowel Cancer Support Group attended a two hour workshop to help them get to grips with using tablets and iPads at Sheffield Hallam on Wednesday. The group, who are mostly retired, were shown how tablet devices can enhance quality of life and simplify everyday tasks, such as online shopping and searching for information. The workshop was devised by postgraduate computing students Ashwin Kumar Srinivasan and Michael Gunning as part of the Venture Matrix project, which helps put knowledge into practice through collaborations with local organisations. The pair of whizz-kids gave the group an introduction to tablet devices, and suggested some apps which could be of particular interest to the older generation. These included a simplified Facebook app, Magniscope - a virtual magnifying glass, and Touchnote Postcards, which allows users to send and receive photographs with added captions, in the style of a postcard. Dil Scrivens, Chairman of Sheffield Bowel Cancer Support Group said: -There's an apprehension amongst us older generation that technology is difficult to use and more trouble than it's worth, however the reality is, if my small grandchildren can use tablets then absolutely anyone can. Today it's our aim to give an insight into how tablets can be simpler to use than computers, can help to save money and can improve quality of life for people who have overcome a very serious disease. Richard Dexter, 77, attended the workshop. He said: -It seems the internet and iPads are becoming a more important part of everyday life for a lot of people now. Although I am slightly apprehensive about technology, I realise I should make an effort to learn how I could use technology too - coming to this workshop is the first step for me. -I am grateful to Sheffield Hallam University and Venture Matrix for this opportunity. I've especially enjoyed learning how to use YouTube - all the music I used to listen to years ago is all there. I will definitely be looking to buy a tablet soon.

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