TODAY   |  May 16, 2013

Senior citizens take tech-savvy classes

If you’re a member of an older generation, learning even the most basic tech skills can be daunting. So Tom Kamber has created a popular program to teach New York City seniors everything from how to use Gmail to iPads. NBC’s Jenna Wolfe reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> this morning on "today's" tech, older americans looking to get more tech savvy. jenna wolf is here with more on that story.

>> we know what this is about. i think sometimes we forget how hard it is to learn a new skill. for seniors picking up a smartphone or tablet or laptop for the first time can be daunting. tech school for seniors.

>> there's nothing on this stupid camera that has this size thing.

>> reporter: it's called bridging the generation gap . marrying the past to the present with a touch of the future mixed in.

>> hit the backspace.

>> tv land has a show devoted entirely just to that.

>> it's off.

>> if you've ever tried to show your grandparents or even your parents how to use one of these gadgets, you understand.

>> they'll never catch up.

>> what do you mean?

>> they just -- their brains have been formed in a different time.

>> i'm getting my father and mother to turn over to smartphones.

>> people don't want to be left behind. they want to learn to use gmail, an ipad, what their grand kids, neighbors are using, that's what they want.

>> tom is the founder of a rather popular program for seniors, a program that teaches technology, all kinds of technology. one of the most popular classes on this new york city campus.

>> okay, everyone. welcome to our ipad basics introductions to ipads.

>> heavy course load on this day.

>> we are going to go over first how to take pictures.

>> the student body a little older. the curriculum, a little looser. and the classes range from fairly basic to quite basic to wow, that's pretty basic.

>> but here, everyone computer literate or not is fully welcome.

>> well, i don't have a computer. and i decided that it's time i got with it.

>> i'm always telling him, slow down, wait, wait, you have to show me, don't just do it for me.

>> armed with curiosity, these students signed up for intro to ipad with an emphasis on intro.

>> do you have a smartphone?

>> no, i have a stupid phone.

>> the classes at senior planet exploration center are free funded by grants and donations. they run ten weeks long and cover a variety of topics. everything from video games to digital cameras to social networking .

>> that's how my parents skype with me. i only see their eyeballs.

>> this is the center of the country, we have taught 13,000 classes, never charged for one.

>> there are no final exams, only some social assignments. on the day we were there, we had to perform a selfie.

>> i'm going to photo bomb your picture. ready?

>> didn't you photo bomb me? was it good for you?

>> it's very nice.

>> just two classes in, the students are not only picking up the ipad basics, but a little confidence too.

>> after today's class, i feel like i already want one. so i'm enjoying it.

>> i've decided to accept it.

>> as she said, technology is definitely here to stay. i'm sure we can all relate to this. you get your parents or grandparents a phone, a cell phone , you can never call them. they only put it on when they want to call. somehow they have grasped the concept of safie i saving minutes.

>> i know this older guy having trouble loading stuff on to his ipad, oh, i'm sorry --

>> matt lauer .

>> what he's saying is, is there a minimum age for this class?

>> these guys had a full i.t. session before the show. he's like i right click what?

>> i hit a brick wall on my ipad downloading last night. i think it's great. i do.

>> you guys did some selfies.

>> yeah, we did.

>> it's all about --

>> we haven't figured out how to put them on the air yet.

>> we couldn't get all our faces.

>> could you get any closer, savannah?

>> that's a good one.

>> yeah, that one.

>> managed to get that --

>> i have very long arms.

>> sign up for one of these classes, get in on the ground floor and learn.

>> i take it with my mom, how about that?

>> that was great.

>> great idea.