Adults become students in pilot program. But first, training

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From Facebook to Twitter, Pinterest to Snapchat, the world of social media can be a daunting place, especially for those who didn't grow up with it.

But as Black Hills FOX reporter Jaclyn Seymour shows us, one local pilot program is using a little role reversal to make it easier for older generations to navigate cyberspace.

Leacey Brown says, "Many adults want to learn to use technology, and our young people are quite amazing when it comes to using technology. So we take time to teach young people how to teach adults to use technology."

Gerontology field specialist Leacey Brown teamed with the YMCA of Rapid City to help bridge that generational *and* technological gap.

Brown says, "To be able to build skills to be able to communicate with older people and even people with disabilities — whether they have hearing or vision, what have you — that's a valuable skill, and it will make them better members of the team in our organizations."

Bringing vital training a click away for students, like Joseph Robles ... in the Youth Institute program.

Joseph Robles says, "How to do different things with technology; such as social media, and such as the terms of social media and what not and (stuff like that.")

Students who participated in today's YMCA Youth Institute training put on goggles that simulate cataracts, noise–canceling headphones and cotton gloves that affect the way you use technology, all to help train people how to better use technology."

Trevor Bonser says, "The simulations ... we saw how it is for older people to see and to hear."

The different hands–on stations allowed the kids to explain what some of the jargon means, test their impaired vision and use computers, phones and tablets.

Friday's students had the chance to learn what it's like when the adults have to become the student.

Robles says, "It made me really get into perspective on how they felt and how they feel right now. And when I speak to them and they can't hear me well, I can know how they feel."

Another skill put to the test ... patience.

Brown says, "We really emphasize that you have to let the adult do it. You have to. Because so many of us have to touch and feel to learn. And our instinct sometime is to use technology, is to grab the mouse or the device and do it for them. But if we want real learning, that happens here at the YMCA and then is taken home and is used. We got to let them do it."

Brown says a scholarship opportunity is available to the students who put in at least 50–hours of teaching at the YMCA.

Brown says, "That's really to help give them some incentive to stick with the program and do it long term."

Brown expects to have teachers like Robles instructing their older students to Tweet, text, Pin and Facetime their friends and loved ones when training begins in February.