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Engaging with the future: Older learners see the potential of computers for their lifestyle interests

Barnett, Karen R. & Adkins, Barbara A. (2004) Engaging with the future: Older learners see the potential of computers for their lifestyle interests. In Bailey, C., Cabrera, D., & Buys, L. (Eds.) Social Change in the 21st Century Conference; Centre for Social Change Research.

Abstract

People over 65 years are a small but growing demographic of information technology users. Peer teaching and the ongoing support provided by computer groups for older people address their learning needs in the context of specific age-related issues. This study has shown that the capacity of older people to imagine the future is implicated in the tenacity they show towards learning computer skills. Findings from a study of a seniors’ computer club indicate that for some older learners, age related issues do impact on learning. However, for both the tutor and learners, mastery of the computer is anticipated as a way to improve their lifestyle options. Therefore, an important motivator of progress for older learners is the potentiality of the computer to achieve specific ends. An ethnographic case study of seniors’ engagement with computers was undertaken, involving a researcher in observations of tutorials and club trouble-shooting sessions over several months. In addition, face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with several club members, including the tutor as a key informant. The computer club provides a context that supports learning. Peer interaction is a teaching and learning strategy conducive to the needs of older people, and their progress is likely to be sustained by their anticipation of the benefits computers will bring to their lifestyle.

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ID Code: 643
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Computers, older learners, gender, computer clubs, peer teaching, habitus, technology, life narrative, qualitative, case study
ISBN: 1741070813
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Sociology of Education (160809)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 Karen R. Barnett and Barbara A. Adkins
Deposited On: 21 Dec 2004
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:04

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