Exploring new technologies through peer-to-peer and intergenerational engagement in informal learning
(The Open University)
Caroline Holland (The Open University)
Paper short abstract:
This presentation is based on a recently completed study of how older people's engagement with new technologies is affected by the context of learning informally alongside others in a sociable environment. The work was funded by the European Union (Grundtvig) as a life-long learning project.
Paper long abstract:
Recent years have seen a proliferation of technologies aimed at improving the independence and benefitting the well-being of older people (e.g. assistive technologies; monitoring devices) and an increased attention being paid to age- and disability-friendliness within design. Despite this, it is still the case that older people on the whole are less likely than the general population to use non-specialised new technologies such as smart phones and tablets. The reasons are many, complex, and subject to shifts in salience as both technologies and the socio-economic environments change. Prominent among these reasons are the cost of technologies and of up-dating them, access to information about what is available and what might be useful, and opportunities to try things out. This presentation is based on a recently completed study of how older people's engagement with new technologies is affected by the context of learning informally alongside others in a sociable environment. The work was funded by EU (Grundtvig) as a life-long learning project. Groups of older people resident in five locations (Scotland, England, Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia) took part in both local workshops and visits between countries to learn about different kinds of ICT including desk-based (e.g. internet, Skype); handheld (e.g. iPad, smartphones, Kindle); gaming technologies (Wii, Kinect, DS) and a wide range of assistive technologies.
Ageing and the digital life course (IUAES Commission on Ageing and the Aged)