SeniorsKSSeniors in the Knowledge Society
Information and Communication Technologies [ICTs] are widely used by society in general. The capacity of accessing old and new media, communicate and share with people no matter distance and get and produce information broadly has facilitated the development of Information Society [IS]. The Personal Computers [PCs] are becoming broadly used, but also other devices that make possible that people use technology for their daily routines and to create new networks between people and information creators and consumers. This leads to the Knowledge Society [KS], whose main characteristics are a great potential for knowledge creation, sharing, organization, participation and learning. Becoming a part of this society offers great advantages, but the risks of exclusion from this arena could also become a serious matter.
Age groups in larger societies come in "all shape and forms" with different competence and ability levels. As governments and corporations aim to be more efficient and reduce cost by digitizing as much as possible of the required communication and dealings with their citizens / customers; many (and EU at large) have identified seniors (over 55 years old) as a group where many individuals have limited, or none, of the required IT skills and access to the required equipment and networks to facilitate the desired development.
As more and more of mandatory official communication, performing "official duties", trading and commerce, services, interpersonal connections, information access, education, sharing of knowledge, defending ones rights, financial transactions etc. etc. new or more advanced competences will be required of all.
This, from now on, forever developing situation will demand both advanced PC-, IT equipment- and Internet usage skills and access.
It is necessary also to have socio-technological skills and attitudes for being included in virtual communities, joining support networks, create knowledge, etc. Behind of being capable to use ICT, it is necessary to go further and know the potentialities and risks of the technology: knowing the impact of the tools that people are using, the meaning and risks of having and identity on the in Internet, learning to learn and to help others, the importance of sharing knowledge and defend their rights through the Internet, as well as good knowledge about the risks the users may exposed themselves and others to during such use
This makes possible to have active seniors with ICT, on a positive attitude, but also to be critical, to be eager and to be part of the present technological society and capable of helping in the building of this new society. The participation of these seniors is positive for themselves, but also for the rest of society, as seniors have great experiences, values, and lots of knowledge to share and pass on.
Educational institutions like the ones that applied for this learning partnership and also political institutions recognize this need by promoting “e-inclusion” (in the Digital Agenda for Europe, May 2010) where "no one is left behind" identifying the “demographic ageing” as a challenge and also pointing out seniors as one of the target groups.
Other specific policies are the “Ageing Well in the Information Society Action Plan” (June 2007) and “European i2010 initiative on e-Inclusion - to be part of the information society” -COM(2007) 694 final- and remark a need for an active action through education to the e-inclusion of seniors with great advantages form them and society.
This Learning Partnership [LP] aims to improve the e-inclusion of seniors through education (methodologies, techniques, tools, processes, etc) creating a network of institutions and enabling the innovation in the field.
Institutions taking part in this LP are related to ICT education for seniors. We understand the importance of ICT in society, by the great opportunities provided and the risks they present. All these institutions are engaged in courses or processes aimed at the e-inclusion of seniors in the KS, and through this LP it was intended to exchange best practices and experiences, to make possible a more effective e-inclusion of senior learners.
Each partner has presented (during meetings) or collaborated with other partners (between meetings but also in the same meetings) in activities, courses or pedagogies (based on its expertise and the most transferable knowledge). Therefore, the consortium has been able to learn from others but also to participate in other partners’ activities.
Firstly, a compendium of experiences and best practices has been published based on the activities that each partner has developed. Secondly, the project web site gathers all the experiences and activities implemented where the senior learners have participated.
Project reference: 2011-1-ES1-GRU06-35105
The [SeniorsKS] project has been financed by the LifeLong Learning Programme of the European Commission and the National Agencies
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.