Breaking barriers, building understanding: a multigenerational approach to digital literacy instruction for older adults

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Department of Computer Science


In entering the digital realm, older adults face obstacles beyond the physical and cognitive barriers traditionally associated with accessibility. One of these obstacles, technology related anxiety, is particularly problematic because it discourages exploration and way finding, two behaviors critical to the development of digital literacy. We see opportunities to address this issue and bring isolated older adults into a larger digital community, while simultaneously offering our students with valuable first-hand experience learning about and addressing the challenges faced by capable people struggling with unfamiliar technology. Here, we describe our social-cognitive approach to training digital literacy skills, pairing university student tutors with learners from the local community.

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ACM SIGCAS Computers and Society