New programme brings IT training from students to older people

Intel, Microsoft and An Post today launched ‘Log On, Learn’ a new programme that aims to provide computer training to older people in Ireland.

‘Log On, Learn’ takes a unique approach by enabling a participating transition year student tutor to partner with an older person from their local community, so each shares their skills.

The one-to-one aspect of this training will mean that the training is tailored to suit each older person’s needs. The training will take the older person’s initial skill level, learning pace, interests and hobbies into account.

Máire Hoctor, T.D. Minister for Older People who launched the initiative said, “This is a wonderful initiative which will increase older peoples’ connectivity by giving them access to digital communication, while providing a unique opportunity for them to work with teenagers. I have no doubt this cross generational approach will be of mutual benefit. I congratulate teachers, transition year students, along with Intel, Microsoft and An Post for making this innovative approach, a reality.”

The programme is designed to run for 8 consecutive weeks during one, (or all three), school terms of transition year. This initiative allows young people to engage in a programme which has the power to change positively older people’s lives. Across almost 750 secondary schools nationally, this initiative has the potential to train over 30,000 older people, in computer skills, per annum.

In 8-weekly training sessions, (of between 1-2 hours each), which take place in the school’s computer lab/room, the student tutor shares:

  • knowledge of how to use a PC and mouse - basic word-processing, eMail & internet
  • confidence to overcome the ‘fear factor’ surrounding ‘new’ technologies

The older person shares:

  • ability to relate and communicate
  • memories of culture / rituals etc.
  • life experience

‘Log On, Learn’ Log On, Learn is an Intel, Microsoft and An Post collaboration. It has been enthusiastically approved by Michael O’Leary, Transition Year National Co-ordinator.

“To survive and thrive in this growing knowledge-based economy, our older citizens must be equipped with 21st Century skills to stay in touch. Intel is committed to improving digital inclusion and education for all,” said John Davies, Intel General Manager, World Ahead Programme.

Dr. Kevin Marshall, Academic Programme Manager at Microsoft Ireland said, “We are constantly striving to identify ways in which technology can help everyone to realise their full potential, across all sectors of our society.  The ‘Log On, Learn’ programme serves an incredibly useful purpose linking two sectors of society who derive valuable mutual benefits– older people who might not otherwise have access to technology and students who need to develop ICT skills to participate successfully in the 21st Century economy.”

Barney Whelan, An Post Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs said “We are directly in touch with millions of Irish people every working day, and we know the difference that this initiative will make to people, enabling them to fulfill their potential by using new communications tools to improve their own life, that of their peers and family, and the Irish economy and society in general”.

An Post has developed a national advertising campaign, including a 30-second TV ad, showcasing ‘Log On, Learn’ and encouraging older people and Transition Year students to become involved. This is the latest element of An Post’s successful national initiatives focusing on Literacy, and in particular, Technical Literacy.

Anyone wishing to register their interest in ‘Log On, Learn’ should contact 01-214 7417.

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