Jaume I University (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN09 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 4455-4463
ISBN: 978-84-612-9801-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain

The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is increasing across all levels of society, including seniors (55+) but not at the same pace as among younger generations. Research and statistics show that ICT competences among the elderly have grown, and are constantly increasing. But these seniors are not becoming active users of the net; essentially they use it as a basic communication tool (e-mail or chat), for information (to read the news) and other services (e-banking).


The Internet has created new kinds of links and information flows with enormous potential for participation and interaction. This new society can not be built without the participation of seniors.

This paper proposes an educational intervention that can be applied to intermediate or advanced Internet learners who are not attending classes to further their profession careers, but to feel more integrated in society.

In this paper an active user reflects a complex status, not based only on skills or competences but on the capacity to be aware of the reality and consequences of the net and with possibilities to act and influence through it. To become an active user of ICT does not require a user to know every tool and option, but to be able to ask and understand how web 2.0. works and the influence it has.

The activation of seniors requires an alternative methodology to instruction in basic one-purpose tools: the net used as a means to an end (e.g. e-mail or information search) as opposed to using the net as a tool for itself (for enjoyment, to contribute knowledge and influence net-citizens; web 2.0 philosophy).


This study focuses on 753 senior students at the Senior Citizens’ University (SCU) in Castellon (Spain), average age 66. ICT courses have been run since 2002 for seniors from basic to advanced level, with a total of 793 ICT course registrations. Each year, 30 students finish the most advanced level, but we have noted that to reach proficiency, they need to go further.

Based on former research, we developed a qualitative study to discover the best methodological techniques to undertake the activation. We applied these techniques from the start of the course (Oct 2008). This paper summarises these techniques and initial results.

The activities and research are framed in the “activeICT” Grundtvig learning partnership, supported by the Lifelong Learning Programme of the European Commission.


Firstly we precisely define and enumerate the characteristics of an active user: Active users are integrated in the net, although they do not have to be a frequent user of all tools. They are not afraid, know the possibilities and can learn and can ask if they need more information. They have the capacity to participate and defend their rights.

We then define the methodology to activate the above-mentioned competence level through a learning process. This methodology has four phases: information, awareness, implication and actuation (the learner goes through these states: observe, understand, participate and finally become active). Certain tasks and techniques from the methodology were applied in the pilot testing activity where students were guided through their own learning process (24). We observed in the test-group how other parallel capabilities increased (broader horizon of possibilities offered by internet, new forms of online social relationships, asking for help, self-confidence, etc)
ict, senior, elderly, education, web 2, 0, activation.