Dear educators, community leaders and social entrepreneurs who are continually seeking new practices capable of promoting social improvement in their neighborhoods, cities and countries.
Can one single social initiative encourage digital inclusion for seniors, training for young volunteers and provide a fruitful and enriching encounter between these two apparently so distant generations?
The NGO Cidade Escola Aprendiz Association found that the answer is "yes".
Founded and developed over the last seven years in the community education laboratories run by Aprendiz in São Paulo, the Oldnet Program poses youths and seniors sharing experiences mediated by technology during workshops in which youths share their knowledge of computers with seniors, teaching them how to use computers and the internet.
The Oldnet Program was chosen by AMD as a model initiative for the digital inclusion of seniors worldwide.
With a considerable increase in life expectancy for the world's population, it is now crucial to introduce and disseminate programs encouraging seniors to get involved with the information society. The program's humanist proposal contextualizes technology in a new perspective, placing it at the service of people and their relationships.
By promoting digital inclusion for seniors, we also promote social integration. In the domain of the technological universe, distances are shortened by electronic mail, there is virtual travel, and we can read newspapers from all over the world, which means extending and renewing our networks of contacts.
On the other hand, young people acting as volunteer teachers helps their process of maturation, developing a sense of responsibility, flexibility and more ability to be involved socially.
The Oldnet Program methodology presented here is the result of a collective process of integrating points of views and knowledge of the creators, coordinators, educators, youths, seniors and partners involved in the initiative. This group developed and produced important reflections, practices and invaluable records that have been brought together and structured to assist schools, homes for seniors, companies, universities and many other social actors willing to make an effort to create new spaces for teaching and learning in their communities.
We are making an invitation here for anybody interested to hold one or several workshops of the Oldnet Program in their community. Information required to implement the program, suggestions for activities at each stage, depositions on video and illustrative pictures comprise content that may be enlarged and adapted depending on local situation and culture.
We hope that the Oldnet experience will inspire, assist and support everybody wanting to build new educational opportunities for integration of seniors in the information society, education and training for young citizens and sustainable social and economic development for current and future generations.