Program & Portfolio Focus

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
 “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
Purpose of a Senior Citizen
Computer Class
To familiarize senior citizens with
computer functions and applications
To provide a safe, friendly learning
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
 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
 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
 Windows XP, Microsoft
Office and Publisher,
and the Internet can be
 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
 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
Success stories shared after
participating in a senior citizen class
 Students expressed fear of
 Students needed help turning on
and off the computer.
 Students could not maneuver
 Students had never been on the
 Students hesitated when asking 
 Students were strangers to each
 Seniors did not communicate with
team teachers
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
 Meaningful, new friendships were
 Seniors frequently e-mailed team
teachers for student updates
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
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.