News

Bridge the Gap! at the Time To Care digital literacy training (2)

In Rome five training sessions – all in presence – have taken place at the Rome Giorgio Perlasca Social Centre in 2021 on November 25, November 30, December 04 and December 15 and on 24 January 2022 and we would like here to renew our thanks for her cooperation and support to Ms. Nahid Ameri, the President of the Centre. 23 participants – aged between 71 and 95 years of age – have regularly attended, coordinated by Lunaria co-workers and by Daniele Bolletta, a young engineer active in intergenerational digital literacy. All participants are volunteers within the Social Centre, they have different professional backgrounds, varying from former teachers and public administration employees to housewives, none of them had previously attended courses to upgrade their digital skills. The common motivation of all participants has been improving their ability to use digital tools to expand their communication opportunities, both with their friends and family circles and for their social interaction, including their participation in age-friendly projects in the neighbourhood in which they live / in which the social Centre is active. Most of them had basic digital skills, all of them already used smart -phones, but with limited knowledge about the potentials in their use. The willingness to learn has been impressive, with the repeatedly expressed wish to continue also in the future with such free-of-charge training opportunities.

Training Contents, Methods and Materials

Modules

Preliminary assessment of the participants’ current knowledge of digital tools and about the use of smart-phones to understand everybody’s needs and expectations.
Introduction: what it is, how you turn it on / off (pin) what are apps. How to make a call / how to add contacts in the phone address book.
What is Internet, why it is important to use it, which are the steps to take in order to be able to navigate. What is a browser. Navigating on the web. The web logic: pages, addresses, links. What is a home page. Using Google: how to search for information. Google maps, YouTube.
What is a chat. The use of WhatsApp. What is meant by “social network”. What is Facebook.
Useful sites: to translate a foreign word, to know the value of a foreign currency, to find a past or future calendar, to calculate a fiscal code, to find a movie or a cinema or a TV programme, to check the latest news or past news, the weather forecasts, to calculate the distances with public transportation, the use of Street View. How to download useful documents: from public administration websites, how to ask for a new identity card or passport.
How to communicate with one or more persons, though mails and how to share images. The management of an own e -mail account, how to check sent and received mails, how to retrieve mails deleted by mistake.
Introduction to the office suite
photo © Angela Pagano

Methods

All workshops have taken place with a frontal methodology, with an opening session in plenary followed by group ones with all participants using their own smart phones. Each workshop has lasted an average of 3 hours, with breaks more or less every 30 minutes and the emphasis, requested by participants, on personalised learning, individually and/or in small and very small groups in the various meeting rooms and spaces of the Centre.

Bridge the Gap! at the Time To Care digital literacy training (1)

The Italian Prime Minister’s Office, through its Youth Policies Department in cooperation with the Italian National Civil Service and the Third Sector Forum has launched a training scheme for people under 35 years of age to be trained to upgrade, as by now recognized fundamental active citizenship skill, Italian senior citizens’ digital literacy: it’s called Servizio Civile Digitale (Digital Civil Service). Through 39 local training projects all over Italy, 1,200 younger persons are being trained to then apply what they have learned with local groups of 65+. Bridge the Gap! has been chosen as one of the good practices to be presented, discussed and disseminated and on last March 14 the whole morning has been devoted to the first part of the online project presentation and discussion with 50 young civil service participants. Great interest and very lively interaction, on the basis of the attached ppt presentation (in Italian). The second session is scheduled for the morning of March 28.

The second edition of the Bridge the Gap! Newsletter is online!

In this newsletter we will share some of the insights we gained during our test training phase in Austria, Italy, Lithunania, the Netherlands and Germany.

We invited older citizens to discuss possibilities for improving social and digital participation of older people and to get to know new digital tools that can be useful for their own projects. This also served as a testing ground for our curriculum and we were able to finetune it with the help of their valuable feedback. Our next step will be the development of the Bridge the Gap! Training Kit, that will be available for interested trainers, such as adult educators and volunteers in organisations that work with older people.

You can download our newsletter in multiple languages here.

Successful approach to train digital skills with older adults

Twenty-four older adults from The Hague and Gouda participated with much enthusiasm in a workshop sequence of six meetings and indicated afterward that the training improved their digital skills. In this article will be described what the success formula was to book real results. 
See articles in English and Dutch:

Finalization of test training series in Germany

photo © ISIS gGmbH

The Bridge the Gap! Training was tested in Bad Vilbel. Find out what the participants learned and how they made their city more age-friendly.

As part of the Bridge the Gap! project, from mid-August 2021 to mid-November 2021, a series of workshops took place in Bad Vilbel near Frank­furt/Main, organised by ISIS Institut für Soziale Infra­­struktur with the support of the Seniors’ Office and the City Library, with the cooperation of the Neighbour­hood Association and the Seniors’ Council. The partici­pants first learned in three work­shops, among other things, how digital tools can facilitate age-friendly initiatives and were given the opportunity to deepen their know­ledge regarding digital applications such as MS Publisher, image data­bases or image editing programmes. The partici­pants worked together in a project group on the “expansion of offers to promote the digital competence of older people” and planned in several project group meetings, among other things, the expansion of the smart­phone consultation hour of the neighbour­hood association, which will be offered in different neighbour­hoods in the future and thus be more access­ible for many people. The know­ledge about digital tools acquired in the work­shops helped to create an infor­mation flyer that informs about the offers in the digital field. In the final work­shop, the partici­pants exchanged their experiences, reflected on their work on the local project and evaluated the workshop series.

The partici­pants particularly appreciated having made contacts through the workshop series and having gained new impulses and ideas. With regard to the work on the local project, it was emphasised that the work done so far is only seen as the first steps towards expanding the offers, which will also be continued after the end of the work­shop series.

Trainings in the Netherlands concluded

photos © AFEdemy

In November 2021, AFEdemy granted the certificates of the final training Bridge the Gap! training group in Gouda. This concluded the success­ful series of test trainings of three months.



In The Netherlands, the Dutch partner AFEdemy, established three groups for testing and training the Bridge the Gap! curriculum. 24 older adults in the age of 64-85 years success­fully finalised the training sequence of 6 work­shops. During the work­shops the learners brought their own smart­phones and tablets (iOS and Android) to work on.
 
During the first work­shop, the trainers made inventory of the digital skills and interests in the domains of the age-friendly environ­ments concept of the groups. The digital skills of the learners strongly varied, from only having a smart­phone till advanced user of digital devices. The learners chose to focus on the following themes: out­door spaces, mobility, public information, care and techno­logy, and social partici­pation. 
 
Work­shop 2 till 5 each addressed one of the chosen AFE themes. Some­times a guest speaker was invited. In the frame of the theme care and techno­logy, a visit was paid to a demonstration smart home and techno­logy shop. Each work­shop started with a discussion on the home­work the learners performed. Learners could also address the challenges they have met during the interval periods of the work­shops. Next the trainers invited the learners to look on the inter­net for more information on the defined AFE themes. Also the learners were invited to express why they think the themes are important for them­selves or for other older people. Challenges for older adults  were discussed and learners jointly looked for answers on their phones or tablets. In this way the learners learned to think about the various aspects of their lives and to practice with their devices. They learned to look for answers, using their devices.
 
Regarding digital skills, learners brought in the following issues: how to connect to WIFI, what is a Cloud, how to down­load apps, what are cookies, how to use and install QR codes, how to enable the Green Pass, how to take pictures and categorize them, how to use a search engine, how to use the micro­phone instead of typing, how to use social media, what is done with data and how are privacy arrange­ments set. These issues were practiced during each work­shop and if necessary repeated.
 
During the final work­shop the training was evaluated. The learners appreciated the training very much and some of them would have loved to continue the training. The learners indicated that their digital skills have improved compared to the start of the training. Overall the training layout was a great success.
 

Quotes

I have learned…
…. to search for websites and to get infor­mation from it
…. to down­load apps, such as CoronaCheck App
…. to work with my digital identification number
…. not to be afraid to go digital
…. to use my phone



 

Conclusions

  • Social and digital participation is a highly relevant theme among older adults

  • Much demand after this kind of trainings

  • Already a follow-up started: analphabetic people learn to use the speak function­ality on the device and reading-out-loud function of websites

  • Digital accessibility is utmost important


A Neighbourhood Walk and 60+ Check kicked off the trainings series in Vienna!

photos © Voglhuber

How age-friendly is my neighbourhood? A group of older adults and city officials joined a neighbour­hood walk through the 13th district in Vienna. On the 6th of October – in the beginning of the inter­national month of seniors – a group of older adults in Vienna organised a neighbour­hood walk called “60+ Check”. The aim of the event was to check age-friendly features (including public seating areas; condition of pave­ments) together with older adults and city officials. In order to document age-friendly features and areas for improve­ment the parti­cipants could fill out a question­naire as well as take pictures with Smart­phones and Tablets. During the 1,5 hours long event 13 parti­cipants walked through an area of the 13th district, got to know other residents and get in touch with and discuss ideas directly with city officials. All ideas and opinions are now being summarized in order to discuss them with city officials aiming to improve the age-friendli­ness of identified features and areas. During regular training sessions and work­shops organised in Vienna throughout the coming weeks, older learners discuss and exchange ideas and (digital) skills to actively contribute to age-friendli­ness in Vienna.

Bridge the Gap! trainings in Germany

photos © ISIS gGmbH

Since August 2021, the German project partner ISIS is testing the training developed within the Bridge the Gap! project in Bad Vilbel. Within the training, the participants jointly develop projects that contribute to make their living environ­ment more age-friendly. This includes in particular measures that strengthen the autonomy of older adults and promote their partici­pation in all areas of life. In addition to getting to know each other and learning units on digital tools and the concept of age-friendly environ­ments, the focus of the workshops conducted so far has been on finding ideas for their own projects. The partici­pants exchanged ideas, also with guest speakers, in parti­cular on how the offers to promote the digital literacy of older citizens can be extended.

The aim for the further work of the participants is to concretise and implement these ideas. We are looking forward to the upcoming meetings and workshops, the exciting exchange with each other and the creative projects that will be developed!

Seniors Initiatives Centre in Kaunas started Bridge the Gap!

photos © Edita Šatienė

Seniors Initiatives Centre started Bridge the Gap! Project training on August 31. The training takes place in Šilainiai and Šančiai branches of Kaunas City Public Library. 16 older citizens from Šilainiai and Šančiai districts enrolled in the training course in response to wide promotion on social media channels. The training is organized in weekly sessions for two groups of 8 people aged 70+. The first session was used to introduce the project idea and the training curriculum, to evaluate the motivation, experience and expectations of the participants and to practice joining a Zoom class. The participants also practiced the public transport App Trafi in order to find the way to the consumer electronics retail store Avitela. The second session took place there to introduce the participants to smart home technology appliances and gadgets. The third session is planned to give the participants a virtual reality experience in VR Experience Room. After taking a look at digital technologies all around us, the training will continue in the libraries until the middle of October.   

UN International Day Of Older Persons 2021

Upcoming UN Event: Digital Equity for All Ages: Connect, Respect and Protect Older People in Digital Technologies
 
On 1st of October (1:30 – 3:15 PM CET) the United Nations organizes a (free) online panel discussion with several speakers via ZOOM to provide a platform for multistakeholder dialogue and serve as a call to action. The #UNIDOP2021 aims for a person centered, human rights approach to ensure digital equity including adequate policies, access, digital literacy and safety for individuals of all ages.

Click here for the ZOOM invitation and link!

The first edition of our Bridge the Gap! Newsletter is online

The first edition of the Bridge the Gap! News­letter is online! In the newsletter we summarize our project goals, inform about current events in our respective regions and present our next step(s).

So far, we have collected our research findings in our national reports and assembled a shorter over­view in our fact sheet. In addition to that, we have consulted with experts and older people to help us design appro­priate training plans. Next, we will start the training test phase in all partner countries. In our work­shops, we will support older people in creating ideas, building networks and starting age-friendly projects based on their own interests and needs.

Feel free to look around our project website and to down­load our news­letter and further resources in multiple languages here.

Project presentation in the municipal library in Bad Vilbel, Germany

In Bad Vilbel (nearby Frankfurt/Main), Germany, a working group called Begegnungen digital und analog (digital and analog encounters) has come together to open up the digital world to older people. A series of events are planned over the next months to give older people the opport­unity to learn and improve their use of digital techno­logies. The series of events aims to strengthen the social parti­cipation of older people with the help of digital skills. Accordingly, the events will address topics such as video conferencing and the use of apps to take advant­age of public trans­port or online banking.

The kick-off event of the lecture series on digital topics for older people took place on 12 July 2021. Lidia Burhard from the Senior Citizens’ Office in Bad Vilbel led the event. The number of parti­cipants was limited to 40 due to Covid-19, although the interest and the number of regist­rations were much higher. Offers of the Neighbourhood Association Bad Vilbel to support older people in using digital techno­logies were presented at the event. Angelika Welscher, a volunteer of the Neighbour­hood Association, presented an overview of useful applications of digital technologies in her lecture using the example of planning a holiday trip. She also presented a variety of other helpful tips for everyday life. In addition to the lecture, Jana Eckert presented the most important information and aims of Bridge the Gap! and distributed the fact sheet to those interested. She also informed about the planned workshops to be held in Bad Vilbel and invited the audience to participate.

We are looking forward to test the BTG training in Bad Vilbel soon.

Our new Bridge the Gap! Fact Sheet is now online

The Bridge the Gap! fact sheet is now avail­able on our website! The project partners of Bridge the Gap! carried out desk research and conducted 56 interviews with experts, practitioners, stake­holders and older people to collect information on ageing and social parti­cipation in the digital era. The fact sheet presents our most important findings from this research. In addition, projects and initiatives that create age-friendly environ­ments in Europe with the support of digital tools are presented as inspiring best practice examples. On our project website, the fact sheet can be downloaded in German (DE and AT), English, Italian, Lithuanian and Dutch language.

Bridge the Gap! in Rome Municipality II

photos © Angela Pagano, Lunaria

On 15 June 2021, Bridge the Gap! has been presented during Rome Municipality II’s  3rd and 4th Age States general.  After over one year and a half of de-facto lock­down, Rome Municipality II Social policies depart­­ment organized, in the beautiful open-air Virgiliano park setting,  the 3rd and 4th age Festival, as States general to collect proposals to sup­port local age-friendly initiatives and develop­­ments. Around 100 represen­tatives of local socially engaged NGOs, groups and volunteers took part. They both reported on how they creatively reacted to the Covid pandemics, the obstacles and difficulties faced and shared their priority proposals to foster older citizens and inter-generational active citizen­­ship. In cooperation with Carla Fermariello, Social policies Counsillor, also Bridge the Gap! has been presented and inputs exchanged on its implementation within Municipality II. Given the current sub­stantial improve­ment of the Covid situation and to avoid that senior citizens get once again penalized through isolation, the gathering ended with the unanimously approved request to Rome City Govern­­ment to re-open local senior social centers as of next July 01.

Europe's Digital Decade: Commission launches consultation and discussion on EU digital principles

Get involved in the public consultation by the European Commission! The Commission is launching a public consul­tation on the formulation of a set of principles to promote and uphold EU values in the digital space. The consul­tation is open until 2 September 2021 and seeks to open a wide societal debate and gather views from citizens, non-govern­mental and civil society orga­nisations, busi­nesses, admin­istrations and all interested parties. Find more infor­mation here.

Co-creation session to set-up the training curriculum

photo © AFEdemy
On the morning of April 8th, the Dutch partner orga­nisation AFEdemy organised an online interactive session on the proposed set-up of the train­ing of the Bridge the Gap! Project. Ten inter­viewed older adults and experts, such as older adults’ advocacy orga­nisation KBO-PCOB, SeniorTab, SeniorWeb and The Hague Library were present. They were intro­duced to the Random Spinning Wheel to present them­­selves, the use of the white­board in Zoom and a brain­­storm on relevant topics. We received suggestions, take the person for the training into account and not the age. A lot depends on the willing­­ness and motivation to learn. How to involve older adults in neigh­bour­­hood activities that are not working with digital devices yet. Work in small groups. Focus on what people actually can use, for example sometimes people don’t want to learn how to use email but only how to use Whats­App or Insta­gram. Mind the costs of digital­isation and the access­ibility of digital infra­structures. The meeting concluded with the following actions: the training will be further developed with the group. On their request, today’s participants will remain involved, either as co-trainer or as trainee. 2 or 3 groups of 4-6 persons will become active in the test training: in The Hague (Escamp and Haagse Hout) and one group in Gouda. The actual training acti­vities will start in May and be evaluated in September/October of 2021.