Lessons from our elders: Identifying obstacles to digital literacy through direct engagement


In today\u27s world, technological change outpaces many people\u27s ability to comprehend or trust it, let alone embrace it. It is vitally important that developers of pervasive technology for the elderly are grounded in the needs, experience, and capabilities of the people they seek to help. We have organized and participated in an ongoing outreach program that trains elderly residents of our rural community in digital literacy skills. The attendees at our help sessions, having been left behind in earlier iterations of the technological revolution, exemplify the challenges facing the designers of tomorrow\u27s assistive technology. We report on the lessons we have learned in this regard through the interactions with our elderly participants. We identify three recurring themes: anxiety stifles exploration, details obscure abstraction, lag complicates adoption - illustrating them with real stories gleaned from our records. We offer our program as a model for engagement with the elderly, helping them overcome their obstacles to literacy and giving us researchers a non-invasive perspective on their situation. © 2013 ACM

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Michigan Technological University

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oai:digitalcommons.mtu.edu:michigantech-p-31840Last time updated on 11/25/2020

This paper was published in Michigan Technological University.

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