Thanks to Stiftung Digitale Chancen, Android tablet devices (with internet flatrate and telephone function) were given for one year to individual seniors and senior organizations during the Get Online Week 2012 to facilitate internet usage among the older generation.
It is always difficult to provide hardware to people, who are lacking a computer and access to the Internet. It is even more difficult to provide new and modern hardware devices such as tablets.
Hence, we were happy, that our industry partner E-Plus could offer us more than 70 Android-Tablets for distribution among seniors to see whether these would facilitate their internet usage or not.
We chose to focus on organisations we are already in co-operation with, and therefore know that we can rely on. These were mainly seniors community centers that are now offering tablet courses, and one seniors residence, in which every senior who wanted to take part in the project got an own tablet for twelve months.
To make sure that they're not lost with their tablets, we provide a weekly consultation hour in the seniors residence, offering help with problems that might occur. We also initiated inter-generational consultations with students from a gymnasium nearby. All tablets are equipped with a free internet flatrate, also provided by E-Plus.
Our assumption for the project was that the use of tablets lowers the technological barrier, because seniors not yet familiar with the Internet might face problems with the eye-hand-coordination when using a normal computer.
Mobility apps, news apps and also information apps were pre-installed on the tablets. First results show that if there is relevant content the seniors are interested in (public transport, weather, local news, navigation,..) the tablet reveals to be a facilitator for the first step to the world wide web.
So far, with its simplicity in usage, easy access to Internet content and applications that matter for their daily life, the tablet has become a good companion to most of the seniors in the project.
Within the next months to come the seniors are constantly accompanied and asked to help us evaluate their progress in motivation and digital literacy skills. So in the end we will be able to demonstrate the impact of tablets for Digital Inclusion of seniors.
Media attention for this project was and still is overwhelming. There were reports and articles in more than 10 newspapers, one in BILD-Zeitung, Germany´s biggest national newspaper, two in Germany´s biggest online newspaper (Spiegel Online) and at the moment we even try to protect the seniors from too much attention.
You might get an idea of the press coverage if you take into account, that the American Association of Retired Persons (40.000.000 members) has heard about our project and asked us to give them some advices for carrying out a similar project.
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