Program and Portfolio Focus Project: Teaching Senior Citizens Computer Skills Amy Cannady University of West Georgia MEDT 8463 Issues in Instructional Technology Spring 2008 Why have I chosen this focus? Many of my students at Whitewater Middle School are being raised by grandparents. The following comments have been heard during teacher conferences: “My grandchild spends so much time on the Internet. I wish I knew how to check what he is looking at.” “I need to feel more connected to my grandchild.” “I don’t know how to navigate the school web page.” “I didn’t know you had a school web page or a team web page that lists class work and homework.” “I’d get online more if I knew how.” “I’d like to take a computer class if the participants are senior citizens. Purpose of a Senior Citizen Computer Class To familiarize senior citizens with computer functions and applications To provide a safe, friendly learning environment To allow seniors to access community and world-wide resources To allow seniors to explore interests and hobbies To allow seniors the opportunity to connect with their grandchildren To give senior citizens access to school resources. Description of Work Students will learn basic computer skills using Microsoft Office Students will learn how to download digital photography Students will create cards, stationary, calendars, and letters using Publisher Students will learn how to navigate the desktop and discover shortcuts and tools within the computer Students will discover valuable Internet sites and their uses Students will learn how to create, organize, and use e-mail to communicate with team teachers Students will learn how to navigate pertinent school web pages such as mygradebook.com Clients Students should vary in ages between 59 and 84. Students should be grandparents of students enrolled at Whitewater Middle School and/or friends of staff members Students should be anyone interested in learning computer skills to better their lives or the lives of the students at Whitewater Middle School. Facilities and Staff Classes can be offered in the computer lab at Whitewater Middle School or community service center The lab at Whitewater Middle School is equipped with 28 Dell computers Windows XP, Microsoft Office and Publisher, and the Internet can be utilized Classes must be taught by at least two certified teachers including Bonnie Hicks and Amy Cannady Bonnie and Amy hold a master’s degree in integrating technology Why should senior citizens learn computer skills? In 2004, senior citizens comprised 12 % of the nation’s population; that number is expected to increase by 147% by 2050 when senior citizens will account for 24 % of the population of the United States. As the workplace and society in general becomes more and more dependant upon technology, the demand for senior citizens to be able to stay familiar with technological advances will increase. Use of the computer and Internet allows senior citizens to feel more connected to society and school. Using the Internet to interact with others helps reduce loneliness and the rate of suicide among seniors. Computer use helps to increase self-efficacy and lower computer anxiety thereby increasing overall life satisfaction for senior citizens. Success stories shared after participating in a senior citizen class BEFORE Students expressed fear of technology. Students needed help turning on and off the computer. Students could not maneuver mouse. Students had never been on the Internet Students hesitated when asking questions Students were strangers to each other Seniors did not communicate with team teachers AFTER Students said, “Thanks; you have alleviated my fears.” Students could independently boot up and shut down. By the last class, students could double click and were in control of the mouse. Students navigated helpful Internet sites such as Mapquest and WebMD. Students felt safe when asking questions and when needing assistance. Meaningful, new friendships were formed. Seniors frequently e-mailed team teachers for student updates References Chen, Y., & Persson, A. (2002). Internet use among the young and older adults: Relation to psychological wellbeing. [Electronic version].Educational Gerontology, 28(9), 731-744.Retrieved March 1, 2008, from EBSCO Research databases. Saunders, E. (2004). Maximizing computer use among the elderly in rural senior centers. [Electronic version]. Educational Gerontology, 30(7), 573. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. EJ692152). Retrieved February 16, 2008, from ERIC database. Senior Citizens Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 1, 2008, from htt;://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/SeniorStats/6-04-26FactsAboutSenior.html Senior Citizens deserve a chance! While continuing to earn my specialist degree, I will attempt to improve the lives of senior citizens by showing them how technology can connect them to their grandchildren. They are a fun group to teach, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with them.