Dr. rer. nat. Svenja Noichl
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InfoBiTS: Computer science education for technology-distant seniorsCopyright: © LuFg I9
Promoting digital competencies through fundamental computer science education using digital teaching and learning scenarios
Digital competencies are becoming increasingly relevant in all areas of everyday life as a result of ongoing digitalization. This also holds for seniors who are technology-distant which means, that they have had little or no previous contact with digital technologies. Digital competence is here understood as the combination of media competence and computer science competence, i.e., the combination of aspects such as media knowledge, media criticism, media use and media design as well as basic knowledge of, but not limited to, the functionalities of computer science systems. While existing programs for seniors, such as computer, smartphone or tablet courses, peer learning programs or technology support and consultation hours, mostly address media competence, the program developed here is intended to place a greater focus on computer science competence. By teaching ideas and concepts from computer science, transferable knowledge of this domain is to be fostered beyond the competence of using digital devices. The target group consists of people aged 50 and above who have little or no previous experience in the use of digital technologies. In order to support learning success in this area, which is new to the target group, it is essential to take geragogics into account. Three important aspects in this context are (1) learning with people with similar interests, (2) learning in a protected space, and (3) quick help with questions and problems. The offer developed here therefore does not only rely on the use of the developed learning app (InfoBiTS), but rather embeds it in a course concept. A workshop setting has proven suitable for this purpose. An online setting is also suitable, with some restrictions. The InfoBiTS app includes four learning modules that deal with the topics of communication, functionality of the Internet, mobile devices and the Internet, as well as data protection and data security. The modules each address competencies from the curriculum for seniors, which has been developed as part of this work and is based on national and international school curricula as well as the interests of the target group, which were collected in a questionnaire with 123 participants. Furthermore, topics of current relevance as well as connecting topics to the everyday life of the target group, e.g. communication with (distantly living) children and grandchildren, were significant for the concrete selection of topics. While the pilot study was conducted in a workshop setting, the evaluation was conducted in an online setting due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. A total of 19 participants between 50 and 84 years old attended. In particular, the evaluation showed that the sense of control in using and over technology improved significantly compared with before the first module and after the last module. Furthermore, the results of a module-related self-assessment and the completion of the tasks within the modules indicate that the intended learning objectives in the modules were mostly achieved, which points to a fostering of the addressed competencies from the curriculum. Lastly, the evaluation of DigComp 2.1, the European reference framework for digital competencies, indicates not only an improvement in the anticipated competencies, but also an improvement in other competencies, such as in the area of dealing with technical problems.
How can digital competences of seniors (who are not familiar with technology) be promoted by means of digital teaching and learning scenarios?
- Which computer science contents are relevant and interesting for the target group of seniors who are not familiar with technology?
- How can digital teaching and learning scenarios be implemented to transfer digital competencies to seniors who are not familiar with technology?
- How does the use of the digital teaching and learning scenario influence the digital competencies of seniors (who are not familiar with technology)?
- Computer science curriculum for seniors
- Four thematic modules in form of an Android App
- Course concept and alternative course concept taking geragogy into account
- Findings on the effectiveness of the course in terms of improvements in digital competencies