AGE IS NOT A BARRIER: SENIORLAB, AN INNOVATIVE PROJECT-BASED APPROACH TO LEARNING FOR SENIOR CITIZENS
1 i2CAT - Citilab (SPAIN)
2 Universitat de la Gent Gran (SPAIN)
3 Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (SPAIN)
4 Citilab (SPAIN)
5 Value Creation (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 1st International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 6-8 July, 2009
Location: Barcelona ,Spain
Abstract:The purpose of this presentation is to show the results and experience obtained so from the Seniorlab project at Citilab, Cornellà, Spain, whose aim is to promote the use of ICTs among senior citizens in order to explore their capacity for innovation, towards the design and development of the digital society.
Society’s image of senior citizens is, in general, shown in a negative light, mainly because of social prejudice and economic factors, that associate old age with a plethora of negative concepts, such as burden, dependency, cost, illnesses, obsolescence and lack of productivity. On the other hand, this growing segment of the population is being perceived as a potential market for service companies, and is also being addressed by governments, which are providing support for the social and health needs of this age group.The objective of Seniorlab is to put senior citizens at the centre of the knowledge society, under the belief that senior citizens should not have to adapt to new technologies and tools, but rather that these should be adapted to senior citizens’ needs.
During 2008, the team (composed of 13 members), developed projects by and for senior citizens, following a project-based approach and involving Living Lab methodologies. The execution of this project also allowed us to define a profile of the target audience, based on the team members and participants; this in turn helped us define the strategies to be adopted in order to expand the group and the area of influence of the project.
The projects developed by Seniorlab during 2008 were structured around two main axes:
The development of a pedagogical approach that suited learning in the context of Seniorlab projects was not easy; in the end, the approach was to learn from the participants themselves which were the best ways for them to adopt new technologies, and one of them was to relate technology to their lives. This in turn meant they not only had to learn technologies, but also how to do research: how to conduct interviews, how to search for a file, how to document facts. It was essentially a combination of project-based learning and a Living Lab methodology: the users are at the centre of the open innovation process, and are involved in every step of it.
The main results obtained so far have been the creation of a senior, user-driven community that focuses on improving senior citizens’ quality of life through open innovation; the expansion of the original team to 25 members for the 2009 edition of the project; and a variety of projects that reflect the heritage and historic memory of the group. All projects and ideas, always driven by the users themselves, have been proposed as prototypes that can be improved and expanded, either from the content or the technology point of view. Proven methodologies and tools could be applied to new environments, and current projects could be improved and enhanced by using new tools and applications.
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