ICT-EDUCATION FOR SENIORS

C. Manresa-Yee1, L. Macías González1, C. Sanz2

1University of Balearic Islands (SPAIN)
2III LIDI - Facultad de Informática - UNLP (ARGENTINA)
The year 2012 has been declared as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. One of the aims of active ageing is to grow old participating as a full member of society. Nowadays, Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) surround us in many of our daily activities and have included us into the Information-Knowledge-Network Society. Even if information systems are regularly used in education, work, leisure or domestic purposes by the majority of modern societies' citizens, still some sectors such as disabled or elderly people are at a disadvantage. The e-inclusion tries to end this phenomenon called the digital divide, that is, the gap between people with effective access to the information and communication technologies and those without.

As University members and participating in University Programs for Seniors, we are interested in optimizing opportunities for older people to participate in the Information society. As part of the educational curriculum, different workshops related to ICT are offered such as: How to work with the computer and internet (search engines, e-mail), Social internet, Text and presentation editors, or Digital photography. These workshops are of interest to our students, as they count with a high rate of enrollment.
The work presents the results of a case study carried out in the University of Balearic Islands. The specific aims of our study were to analyze the motivations of our students to enroll in workshops related to ICT, the main difficulties they encounter working with the computer (input devices, software, internet) and the main activities they carry out with ICT. The information was gathered by observation and questionnaires answered by students participating in one of the workshops. Furthermore, data was compared with the answers given by other students of the University Program for Seniors, who have never enrolled any of these workshops.

The results are important because: 1) they help teachers to adapt the class to the student’s needs, 2) they allow students to be part of their learning process so that curriculum program managers can take into account their interests for following academic years to plan new workshops, 3) they help us to know the reasons why some students do not enroll these workshops, 4), they bring new ways to motivate them and to make them see how ICT can enhance or complement their lives.