The increase of life expectancy has entailed a global ageing that will be even more disproportionate in the following years. This has represented a challenge for society due to the fact that neither the society nor the economy were prepared for such a change. The seniors abandoned a “passive” role long time ago, they seek everyday to be more integrated in society and they have adopted a rather active and dynamic attitude. Seniors knowledge and experience along with their breadth of expertise, about their way of seeing and sharing with the environment, as well as projection are situations that we must take advantage of to improve their and other generations’ quality of life.
Thus, in this sense society is in debt to the elderly. When we grow older, we all have to face new challenges: restrictions, initiate new projects, adapt to new technologies, etc. Life is dynamic and changing that is the reason why we need to learn how to adapt and redefine our plans. The key to cope with these changes is implementing a lifelong learning model based on equal opportunities, where in old age it is still possible to have opportunities and to access a permanent and social education.
The features of the current society and that, at the same time, influence the educational context are the following (drawn from “Mayores activos, sociedad creativa”. Madrid 2007. Arjé Servicios Comunitarios. Artículo de M.Rosario Limón).
- Democratisation of education and culture
- Crisis of ideology and life models
- Great social changes
- Democratic demands
- Knowledge increase
- Fast motion of scientific and technical knowledge
- Employment mobility
- Extended leisure time
- Ageing population, longetivity, new phenomena
- Broadening information, development of new social media
- Computer society
What is aimed at with the education oriented to seniors is to promote the access to knowledge, support lifelong learning and develop new interests. Lifelong learning promotes cross-generational connection. We can brake the ageing process by taking part in activities, being updated and participating in lifelong trainings, promoting coexistence, social and generational integration as well as active, creative and critically participating in seniors’ organisations.
Therefore, the right to access education should not be age restricted, it should rather represent an opportunity to adapt and catch up, of social integration and attitude re-validation. For all those who circulate in this life estate, education can contribute to the development of an ageing culture and to increase the quality of life expressed via the happiness, health and wellbeing standards. Due to the ageing population and over the years, the adult’s educational demand will increase, instructional institutions will have to adapt to seniors needs, becoming then into lifelong learning institutions. As a consequence, it will be necessary them, to validate new cross-generational meeting spaces, to build up connections between young and seniors.
From CIDET, we provide support to teaching centres, adult associations, adult institutions, and other kind of organisations, to achieve, from a socio-educational perspective and focused in new technologies, the following aims:
- Offering educational institutions a activity and course proposals which are based on new technologies, and according to the institutions needs and seniors. We want to avoid complex tools and technologies that seem to be rather complicated. We prefer a simplicity and utility, something that can be beneficial to seniors, not only in use but also to increase their self-confidence, to achieve their own goals.
- The use of appropriate pedagogies to seniors, facilitate a positive attitude towards lifelong learning in ICTs, learning how to use them in a useful and funny way, avoiding stress and fear.
- Offering online tools, educational environments (such as www.edueca.com), which are specifically designed for adult and seniors. Nowadays, online or virtual learning tools should possess certain dynamisms, effects and interactions that are difficult to be managed and that have scarce value. We think that the most adequate is to boost links between students and a constructivist learning, based on the own experience and the needs of the student.
- Technologies are more than a tool, they bring permeability in our daily routines: how we communicate with our relatives, friends, etc. how we share memories, plan our holidays, continue learning, etc. they work as a means for socialisation and personal development. In CIDET we offer technology as an added value in our teaching (that would be adoption) but also as a way of living, experiencing and enjoying (that would be digital inclusion). We support instructors and organisations to achieve the following milestones: quality of life, health and wellbeing in a broader sense, in their adult and senior students.
If you want to know more about how we make it possible, you can observe the section of our conducted projects: https://www.cidet.es/en/european-projects/ or also, our online learning environment in http://www.edueca.com