During ISEV project youngsters coached seniors on a range of digital competences
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Increasing seniors’ ICT skills in an intergenerational setting

In the world of rapid technological advancement, how to make sure those with low digital skills do not get excluded? Older adults appear to be in greater danger of exclusion due to the challenges they experience when it comes to new technology. The European project ISEV tackles the issue by organizing intergenerational learning activities, for seniors to get to know modern tools and for youth to experience coaching roles. The project participated in GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2019, and now Marek Rembowski from Fondazione Mondo Digitale tells us more about it.

What was the main purpose of this project?

“The project “Inclusive Senior Education through Virtual U3A” (ISEV) aims to make education available to the elderly by adapting activities to their needs: learning independently from their residence, health, social, family, or financial conditions. The project stands on four pillars: social inclusion, the use of ICT, the active participation of seniors, and the engagement of the youth in educating seniors.
The project was developed by the partners based on the practice of “The Knowledge Volunteers” project, which implemented a digital literacy training model based on intergenerational learning and peer-to-peer methods. ISEV training curriculum was developed based on the results presented in the Evaluation Report of “The Knowledge Volunteers Project” and a comparative study regarding the digital literacy-training offer targeting seniors’ education in the partner countries. In Italy, the training path, launched in February 2019, involved over 40 students from the IIS Piaget-Diaz Rome School with as many over-65 adults from the local associations “Il Rosa che Osa” and “Anteas Roma”. Participants got involved in 13 blended-learning lessons, each lasting two hours.”

How did the project foster the life skills approach?
“Besides reaching the goal of improving seniors’ digital competences, the ISEV project promoted and enabled the participants to increase personal life skills while taking part in the activities. Indeed, there was a strong impact on both the younger and elder learners. The most striking impact concerns the personal and interpersonal skills and capacities where cultural understanding, intercultural and intergenerational relations have offered a solid base to then further match with the aim of meeting the seniors’ needs in digital competencies. The sense of community was built among the participants, where respect, patience and will to support each other became a natural attitude inside the group. Many of the over 60 adults came from the suburbs of Rome and the project courses became an opportunity to strengthen their connection with the local community. Moreover, non-conventional school didactic approach stimulated younger students to increased their personal skills.

These positive social relations created a context that gave the chance to the seniors to further embrace the learning opportunity. From one course to another, the seniors had more and more clear and identified requests and needs on ICT issues, challenging the youngsters to support them. This self-confidence and capacity to identify specific learning needs created a positive attitude that became a powerful tool to contaminate the whole community.”

The participants were engaged in various workshops, including 3D printing, stop-motion, and laser-cut

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?

“Fondazione Mondo Digitale, with strong long-lasting experience in similar activities, implemented the “transformative” intergenerational learning model. Thanks to ISEV project the effectiveness of this model was confirmed receiving very positive feedback from all the stakeholders. Indeed, the best practice learned during the project was that combining youth and seniors in a student-centred environment enhances the whole educational process to a level of involvement and motivation that it eased the didactic aims and transformed the learning process into a joyful experience. The project included a specific training session inside the FabLab of the Innovation Gym. The challenge was to involve seniors in working with technological types of machinery like 3Dprinter, laser-cut and stop-motion workshop. The interests, feedbacks and evaluation confirmed that the participants were pleased to participate in such sessions, learning new things, and felling updated to today technological opportunities.”

INCLUSIVE SENIOR EDUCATION THROUGH VIRTUAL U3A (ISEV)

Category: European projects
Coordinator: Fondazione Mondo Digitale
Country: Organisations from Italy, the Czech Republic, Portugal.
Focus: intergenerational blended-learning environment
Life Skills approach: increasing ICT and social competences of senior adults
Resources: website; photo gallery; video

Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: Project partners

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