Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Friday, 8 October 2010 16:45 UK

School Report two-way learning

How pupils helped the older generation get to grips with the internet

Young journalists are swapping their computer know-how for story ideas from older members of their local community.

The inter-generational exchange ties in with First Click , a BBC initiative aimed at helping people aged 55 and over get online. The media literacy campaign begins with Get Online Week which runs from 18 to 24 October.

Students taking part in another BBC project - School Report - which sees classrooms become newsrooms - are getting in on the act, sharing their knowledge of digital technology in return for an insight into local issues which they can use in their news stories.

School Reporters will be interacting with their elderly relatives and neighbours in a number of schools around the UK during this academic year, following the lead of the pilot skill-swap workshops in Scotland.

Elilidh, 12, and Ewan, 13, interview his grandfather Brian, 61, at Greenfaulds High School, North Lanarkshire
Brian, 61, is questioned by his grandson Ewan, 13 and Elilidh, 12

In Cumbernauld, North Lanarkshire, the installation of a new statue, costing £250,000, was the subject of a journalistic investigation at Greenfaulds High School.

On 6 October, School Reporters invited their grandparents into the school to gather their thoughts about the council's decision to fund the public art.

In return for their opinions, the young journalists were able to share their fact-finding expertise, teaching their grandparents to gather details using internet search engines.

Ewan, 13, helped his grandfather Brian, 61, to develop his research skills. He said: "We must have gone on about 25 to 30 websites. We had to tell him that we couldn't read everything, we had to just scroll and take the information we needed."

At another workshop in Gourock High School in Inverclyde, grandparents, parents and neighbours were asked to rate how frightened they were of using computers before and after tuition from their teenage relatives, with 'five' representing the greatest trepidation.

Under the guidance of her 13-year-old grandson, Cameron, Betty, went from a 'three' to a 'one'. The 82-year-old said: "I got top marks! With help, I saw that there's been lots of things -like shortcuts - that I've been giving myself problems with. So now I've got a better idea."

In Aberdeenshire, School Reporters at Meldrum Academy discussed the web needs of pensioners, who often made use of the school library, before offering their expert advice.

Cameron, 13, with his grandmother Betty, 82, at Gourock High School, Inverclyde
Cameron, 13, shows his grandmother Betty, 82, how to shop online

Mcdonald, 71, who learned to write using a slate and a slate pencil, commented: "A one-to-one does make a difference. Carmen [her student mentor] can communicate with me. If I give her a lead, she'll ask more questions. If you want to be a reporter you've got to be good at asking questions, haven't you."

Annette Gibb, told her teenage tutors, Chloe, 12, and Flora, 11: "My granddaughter, who's seven today, had a liver transplant last Monday. I've been on the web, but what confuses me is that there are just so many sites. What can you trust and who's got the most up to date information? I basically came off quite bewildered."

When the students showed the 68-year-old how to narrow down the results returned by placing speech marks around the search terms, Annette commented: "I had no idea and it's what I basically want, as opposed to looking at two million websites."

A First Click/School Report workshop at Doon Academy in Ayrshire
Listen with grandfather: A workshop at Doon Academy in Ayrshire

During another workshop at Taylor High School in Motherwell, Anthony, 12, showed his retired uncle, Owen, how to use a computer, who commented: "The workshop is encouraging me because Anthony is showing me how easy it is."

Another participant, Marion, said: "I never thought I'd be able to use a computer and I can now to do shopping, holidays and book my goods online. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. I'm very pleased that I've done it."

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