In Slovenia, the workshops were on hold for a long time, as it was expected that the Covid regulations would loosen up enough so that that at least the group of 10 elderly participants could be gathered live altogether. The training program was divided into 7 parts of 4 hours each, and took place in the SIMBIOZA’s classrooms, in the largest shopping center in the capital city of Ljubljana.

Although the interest was big, because of the unsure pandemic circumstances the group was limited to eight participants. Every Thursday a group of seven happy and knowledge-seeking ladies and one gentleman gathered. The Wikibooks curriculum was followed, but slightly adapted to the local conditions and level of the participants.

At each meeting the main lecturer who conducted each workshop was joined by one or two guest speaker, experts in their field.  In this way, the workshops were lively and the four hours passed with ease.

The 1st workshop, where public gathering was still forbidden, lectures were done face to face with each participant seated separately one behind the other. The main topic was e-mail communication, opening a gmail account and online video communication. Just after the first cognitive encounter, participants received also an hour-long video lecture on modern ways of communication.

The 2nd meeting already gathered together the whole group. An expert from the largest Slovenian bank lectured on the methods of digital bank payments, and another guest from the digital platform for comparing prices between several Slovenian online stores was teaching participants how to search for products, compare them, and finally how to order and pay online. The group was participating intensively in the discussion about currency exchange between different countries and went off with the lecturer to check how payment of bills works on ATM in practice.

The main aim was to encourage learners to become as fearless as possible in the digital world. The 3rd module was dedicated to internet security. The main subject was viruses, scams, dangers, phishing and blackmailing. It doesn’t sound like helping to overcome a fear but it was, it truly was. With the help of some funny informative videos and one young guest speaker our seniors left more secure and prepared for possible jeopardies in the digital world.

The 4th and 5th gatherings were about being active citizen and attentive part of the digital society. The lecturing guests were an expert from the Ministry of digital administration who introduced all possibilities that the current government platform offers, and another expert who involved everyone in an energetic conversation on how to solve city pollution and slowly brought them into subject of smart city. The next two guests introduced new ways of building digital society with Wikipedia and how today people can start their own business with crowdfunding. All of them are working daily on those topics, so it was all fun listening to them and their practical examples.

The 6th meeting was easy and fun. Some fun and useable apps and programs were introduced to participants. They were checking the weather, searching for hotels and restaurants, checking Google maps and traffic jams, using magnifying glass with their smart phone, translating from Dutch newspaper to Slovene and talking Slovene to Google translator and listening its direct Chinese interpretation. At the end of this module the founder of Simbioza Žiga Vavpotič connected on-line from his home and talked to participants from the big screen. He spoke about how this generation lives in harmony with the digital world. He communicated with his tiny little “friend” living in his smart phone asking him to switch off the lights, opening and closing door and asking him all kind of stupid or very knowledgeable questions. At the end all participants were amused by the very funny video where using Smart home makes the protagonist’s life much more miserable.

The last 7th meeting was promised to be dedicated to their desires. The first part featured a guest speaker from the city library explaining how to search and borrow books online but the finale was dedicated to …

What do you think was their wish?

They all wanted to open a Facebook account. So they did. With a photo and the group we opened for all of them.

The youngest participant counted 56 and the oldest was a brave and very energetic lady of 81.