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Students help others stay in touch

[From left] Joshua Wiegman, Ana Souto and Charlie O’Connell created a website from scratch that helps people grapple with the confusing world of social technology. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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A new website [techwise.nz], aimed at assisting people to connect with each other online, has been launched by three Kuranui College students.

Created during Level 4 lockdown, website creators Joshua Wiegman, Ana Souto, and Charlie O’Connell identified the importance in switching to online resources, when obstacles like covid-19 prevented face-to-face interaction.

The website explains how to keep in touch through simple, informative video tutorials.

The Year 11 students built the website from scratch and coded it themselves in PHP [a coding language], while also investing in the hosting and database to ensure the site is both safe and secure.

“The idea came up during lockdown when we noticed that a lot of elderly people needed support setting up computer programmes like Zoom and Skype,” Wiegman said. “We’re hoping to help the community out.”

Lockdown presented a few challenges, but the trio managed the project by communicating through voice chat and texting.

“We have been working really hard on this project and want to share it with as many people as possible.”

The shares on Facebook and visits to the website have been described by the trio as “amazing”, but they are reportedly still keen to get the message out to older folk, who may not be dialled in to social media.

Techwise offers the video tutorials for free, but the team will also offer an in-home service, when it is safe to do so, at a premium rate. The team said this would go towards the hosting costs of the website.

“We’re hoping that the community, or the whole of New Zealand for that matter, can use this website without having to pay for a very expensive tech consultant for those smaller things,” Wiegman said.

The techwise.nz team also builds PCs, with a PC builder service integrated into the website, but are waiting for their payment system to be airtight, so as to comply with online retail regulations.

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