Intergenerational learning between students and seniors on the topics of the computer, the Internet and new media.
Most people over 60 use computers and the Internet, access the digital world and, in particular, use social media sparingly in comparison to the rest of the population. Therefore, a risk exists that this part of the population is excluded from key aspects of social life that are continually supported, influenced and changed through social media. Experts talk about the digital divide, social marginalization and deprivation. Learning4Generations helps to reduce this gap through the development and testing of special web platforms that help the members of society over 60 gain access to the digital world through intergenerational learning.
Demographic changes continuously create demands for new forms of intergenerational communication, learning and living together. Especially for the younger generation, the Internet plays an important role. Building on this assumption, we develop methods for the intergenerational use of social media within the project, which are considered essential tools to form sustainable cooperations between the generations.
The project goal of Learning4Generations is to impart teaching skills to students so that they can support seniors while they learn to use digital and social media. This assistance takes place in the form of both live and virtual teaching and learning units. Intergenerational learning methods, learning scenarios and an age- and gender-appropriate Web 2.0 platform will be developed. The teaching and learning community that is built up in parallel will ensure that the goal will be sustained beyond the project period.
During the first analysis phase, more than 1,000 seniors and around 840 students were interviewed as part of large, long-term "Fit on the PC” program that is organized by the Kleine Zeitung together with around 100 schools in Carinthia and Styria. The major topics discussed during the interviews were:
- In which forms and at what times are new technologies (computers, Internet, and mobile devices) used?
- Are Senior Citizens in need of training and support and, if so, how often and on what subjects?
- What motivates students to support older people by providing information and answers to technical questions?
The results of these interviews have been translated into requirements for a system that allows senior citizens to ask questions and enables students to answer these questions. The translation was conducted in the form of extensions and adaptations made to the existing Web 2.0 platform www.seniorenimnetz.at for seniors, as well as a web application optimized for use on mobile devices for the students.
To motivate the use of the available options by students and seniors, a game during which points can while completing activities within the system was developd. Activities include, for example, asking questions, providing answers, networking with other participants, and also uploading a profile picture on the page for seniors.
The game was launched in autumn 2013 as a joint activity as part of the “Fit on the PC in 2013”. The winner received prizes in monthly assessements. At the end of the school year, the overall winner among the seniors and students will be determined, whereby the best class group and schools can also receive prizes.