In 2020, our Slovenian partner Simbioza led the development of the digital curriculum, freely accessible to all through the Wikibooks platform, which operates as an online academy developed by Swiss partner Ynternet.org Foundation.
As part of our project, seniors with advanced digital skills were meant to participate in the pilot implementation of the new curriculum (prepared by partners) in Valetta, Malta, in March 2020 and in Berlin, Germany, in May 2020. Learning, in this third phase of the project, was meant to be conducted in English and intertwined with classroom activities with a smart tablet and outdoor activities in Valletta and Berlin, where seniors would use mobile phones to buy tickets, enter museums and use navigation.
The trainings provided in the ICT4theElderly project were envisioned in quite a special manner, since instead of training in each project country, it was meant to be organized by partner organizations, which means that participants from different countries would have the opportunity to work and engage with each other in person. This aimed to add to the project not only a learning dimension but also an intercultural one.
As part of the training in Malta in March (which was canceled due to Covid-19) we made an information package for participants and the selection of participants, which we gathered through Simbioza network easily – the seniors need and want to be engaged. They were selected on the basis of a call, requiring the knowledge of English, digital skills, flexibility, and a high degree of enthusiasm to spread the knowledge in their own communities, becoming project ambassadors.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 interrupted and suspended the plan to jointly test the pilot curriculum through training with the help of 12 senior participants from four countries in Malta and in Berlin – the project was officially extended for six months and is continuing into 2021.
However, Simbioza reviewed the materials available for training, chose the way to continue working with participants (when travel is no longer possible) while maintaining regular communication with project partners – together we looked for ways to continue working. During this time, between March and September 2020, the partner teams, therefore, improved the curriculum, prepared material for the trainers of 12 participants, and consulted on the best plan B for conducting pilot pilots despite the pandemic and the need for online education.
The goal of ICT 4 the Elderly project is to improve the competencies of older people, between 55 and 75 years of age, who already have basic digital skills and to acquaint them with the many opportunities to improve the quality of life offered by the Internet, as information and communication technologies enable members of the growing elderly population to remain independent for longer periods of time. These participants play the role of project ambassadors during and after the project, spreading the digital skills learned further to their own communities, hometowns and families.
Due to the lasting pandemic, in 2021, Simbioza will train participants in our headquarters in Slovenia and not abroad as originally planned. The ICT4 the Elderly project, however, remains a good practice in educating seniors with already developed digital skills.