1 Ayuntamiento de la Villa de Ingenio (SPAIN)
2 Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 3503-3510
ISBN: 978-84-615-5563-5
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 6th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2012
Location: Valencia, Spain
In the literature there is a lot of documentation about how to teach Seniors the use of new technologies. However, there is a lot of "digital immigrants" that could be defined as "digital shipwrecked". The situation could be more complicated when this group of people also lack basic skills such reading or writing in a proper way. This paper aims to describe how the use of social networks have helped not only to develop technological skills but also improve reading and writing skills.

For our purpose, we have developed our own social network (Seventi) with some features which have served as motivation and inspiration to the group of Senior's. Seventi has a number of features that can be shared with any other social network: a wall, a buddy list, groups, chat, private messages, etc. The difference between this project and others in the area is highlighted by two key factors: the personal characteristics of the experimental subjects and pedagogical approach applied.

As noted above, the Seniors group could be very heterogeneous from an educational point of view. Some of them have a college degree while others find difficult to read or write. We understand that the development of education is a commitment for all levels present in a classroom. On the one hand the teacher is responsible for guiding the knowledge, on the other hand, the commitment among students to collaborate with the group in order to develop new knowledge. In this paper we point the advantages of the potential of social media tools in order to create a low-level collaborative knowledge.

About the pedagogical approach applied, it should be highlighted the use of social network features that will be described in the paper. Perhaps the most relevant fact is the creation of the digital identity. The effect in older people of the creation of a digital identity is a considerable dimensional jump in the self-concept for these people. And it is precisely the use of social media tools and the creation of this digital self-concept which has help many of these people to overcome the cognitive barriers for achieving new knowledge.

To conclude this abstract some important motivations for our Senior's group to develop their digital skills should be pointed:
- Connecting. Using Social Networks to find old friends and colleagues Is not one unique to Any Demographic. We are exporting the social network model to other municipalities in the area to connect Seniors from different regions. Many adults have been contacted by someone from their past through a social network. As people retire or change careers, social networks can be a way to stay in touch or get support.
- Lack of Knowledge. We note that Internet users with common interests are more likely to blog or participate in online discussions, and older folks are more likely to have these same interests. If we put those two factors together, and you've got a strong argument for social networking as a way to find communities of people with similar experiences.
- Bridging the Generation Gap. Older people may use social networks to connect with their progeny, despite results that "can sometimes be messy".
Social Network, Social Media, Seniors.