Svenja Noichl

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Basic competences in handling and understanding of computer science systems for (older) adults

Motivation

The percentage of senior citizens in the world’s population will continue to rise in the coming years. While the share of people over the age of 60 years still stands around 27.1% in 2013, this share is expected to be around 38.2% in 2060 (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, 2015). At the same time, the number of senior citizen who use smartphones and/or tablets also increases. In 2014 about 32% of Germans between 50 and 59 years of age used a smartphone, this share almost doubled by 2016 and is now about 60%. For people between 60 and 69, and those over 70, this share has almost tripled. (60-69 years: from 13% to 37%; 70+ years: from 4% to 14%) (GfK Verein, 2016).

Research Questions

Forwarding questions:
• What should older adults learn about computer science systems?
○ Which contents are to be conveyed?
○ What content is important for the target group?
○ What content is the target group interested in?
• How can this content be conveyed via app-based learning units?
• How can the increase in competence in digital competencies be measured?

Main research question:
• How can app-based (e-learning-supported, software-supported) learning units for non-technical adults provide a basic / everyday understanding of computer systems and their effects on society?

Research Goal

The aim of the research is to prepare older adults for the digital world. To this end, digital competences are to be taught in order to enable and facilitate the participation of older adults in the digital world on the one hand and on the other hand to create the foundations so that they can have a say in social issues relating to digital topics. The area of participation in the digital world primarily includes networking, such as contact with family members via social networks or video telephony. In the area of social issues, for example, security aspects such as data storage or video surveillance may be involved. The aim is not primarily to enable older adults to use technical equipment, but rather to promote their acceptance and understanding of technology. To this end, computer science basics, such as aspects of networking and security, are to be taught and the self-concept and technical expertise of older adults is to be strengthened. The focus here is on mediation at the tablet. The aim is to make it possible to transfer what has been learned to other computer systems.

Research is currently focusing on identifying the content that is to be communicated. Based on school curricula, requirements and educational standards in the field of computer science education at school as well as relevant topics related to everyday life and interests of the target group, a curriculum for non-technical adults should be developed. This forms the basis for the selection of topics and content that are taught using app-based learning units.