Ok, Classroom 2.0: Does anyone have experience with or passion about bringing along the elderly with this learning? It's something very close to my heart. I've enjoyed having kids teach senior citizens how to use computers, including email and internet searches. Can you think of how to bring in the voices of the elders on a large scale? (Think of how in-need-of-connection this group can be.)
Is anyone out there working with elders?
Ideas about the value and challenges of the work?

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I think this idea has a great deal of potential. For instance, some of my students are currently studying in Israel for part of their senior year, and one of them is blogging about her experiences there. All of the grandparents and parents love it and comment on her posts. I keep thinking it would be cool if we could get a project going family history-wise that allows students to actually teach elders how to blog or wiki and post -- think about the conversations we could have! I can visualize going to a local senior center or assisted living facility and actually getting into a computer lab and working. You reminded me of one of my favorite blogs, written by a 107-year-old Australian woman facilitated by her friend: The Life of Riley.
Those are awesome ideas. I love the family history project idea. And in general, with any intergenerational project, think of the two-way learning this would create. Let's keep going with these ideas and maybe create a network about it.
I'm going to look into the blog you recommend.
Intergenerational Classroom 2.0. Anybody have any good names for this?
Hi Dana,
Here in Israel, The Ministry of Education supports a nationwide program initiated by Professor Edna Ofek called "From Generation to Generation". The program is carried out in many middle schools who work with "seniors" (grandparents - local "seniors club" or other group of seniors). The students are supported by school staff members who works with them on social skills, teaching tech skills and other necessary skills. The students meet with the seniors and help them acquire basic tech skills - word processing - email - internet surfing. During the meetings the seniors are encouraged to record memories, tell stories, etc. These are recorded in Word processing documents, Powerpoint presentations or web sites and published in hard print or online.
The teachers are supported by a web site with program and teaching resources as well as an online forum open to all teachers involved in the project.
The schools are encouraged to implement various other activities such as Chanuka parties with the students and seniors, inviting seniors to class lectures, etc.
Here is an example of a school site which posted pics of some of the activities (the text is in Hebrew, but the pics are global :-)

This program does much to bring youngters in contact with seniors and helps them value what they can learn from them. Of course, the seniors love the contact with the school kids and gain important computing skills.

The Israeli Internet Society also supports this and various other programs which help empower seniors with telecommunication skills.
Meanwhile I found some more documentation about this project:

An article about this project by Prof. Afek - http://www.developingteachers.com/articles_tchtraining/alon1.htm

A Description of the project in 21st Century Learning Initiatives - http://www.21learn.org/arch/articles/aphek_reciprocity.htm

A Newspaper article about the Project - http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects/pages/PrintArticleEn.jhtml?ite...

A description of related projects from a Seniors website - http://www.aarp.org/international/agingadvances/communityprograms/A...
Thank you SO MUCH for the references. I would love to collect references like these, from all over the world. It's enlightening and uplifting to know of such partnerships. Thank you for the inspirational examples. I'll share them with the children--and maybe seniors, too, if we have enough time this year to delve more deeply into the project. Otherwise, next year! This is an ongoing project (about 17 years now for me).
Hi Connie,
Best of luck on the project. Going thru some school pics for a reunion next week, I found some of the Senior Citizens tech project in our school. They illustrate different phases of the project:
Preparing the students.
Preparing the senior citizens.
Group meetings.
Student Coaching
Student support
Have a look:
Hi Connie,
The non-profit I work with did this in partnership with a community youth service organization. The youth involved were at-risk, in the system kids. It was great for both groups, and went really well for a while. Sort of petered out when the person in charge left.

I'm not sure what you mean by large scale?
Thanks, Sylvia--
Large scale: create a network for people who want to go ahead with some sort of kids-teaching-seniors project (and learning an immense amount in the process).

I've seen kids totally transform through this experience...
I like the idea a lot. I just saw the red flag of "large scale" and wondered what you meant. I've seen lots of good ideas get stuck in the mud of trying to scale up before there is any "there" there. This is going to be a local project first, and you are going to need local involvement. Not that there couldn't be some sort of virtual support system...
Great idea Connie. And from a different perspective, I like it because it brings in another constituency to the discussion of how do we change schools. If you can get elderly Americans involved somehow with the 2.0 tools so they better understand how they can enhance learning, then perhaps we can move or at least nudge our way from the R&D of the Edge (John Seely Brown) to changing the core of education. This group can be very influential with the policy makers and can add to the dialogue of preparing students with new century skills.
This is vastly exciting. I had never thought about this would very likely bring in policy makers! Now I really want to get this project activated. People would then be more likely to view these web tools as intergenerational "connectors"--good medicine. Not only would we be preparing students with new century skills, we would be preserving "old century" knowledge (folklore, stories, historical perspective). And there's the very human side of kids, educators, and elders, all simultaneously learning and teaching.
Changing the core of education--seems there are a lot of us for that. Let's keep moving.
Thanks, REMC39!
On our last trip to the senior home, the kids brought laptops. It was thrilling to see the elders respond to the children's tours of internet sites. Before the trip, we prepared by selecting particular sites we thought would be of interest to their elder partners. Journey North came out as the favorite--the site where kids are data reporters in the study of animal migration. (www.learner.org/jnorth)
So at the senior home, we had the songs of robins and frogs bringing spring into the institution. Passers-by pulled up their wheelchairs to tables, fascinated with the familiar sounds coming from children's computers. "What's this, honey? How do you do this? Oh--look! You mean you can see maps of our songbirds' travels as they come north? Well, I'll be..."
Elders, children, animals...What a fine mix. There is a great deal of power in the connectiveness we can generate here.
Does anyone have particular sites they would recommend for sharing with elders? Is anyone else doing this?



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