TAO/Online learning activities


Here you find activities specially designed for elders and to take place online or being accompanied by online activities. Persons interested in creating new modules are welcome to also present these here.

An Intergenerational Online Reading Project: "Kalte Zeiten" edit

Introduction edit

In cooperation with a middle school, ZAWiW of Ulm University implemented an intergenerational reading activity. Seniors and pupils both read a historical book and discussed their impressions in face-to-face meetings and a moderated online forum.

The activity familiarized pupils with the incidents happening in Poland at the end of the 2nd World War. Topics like what defines the place you call “home” can be discussed vividly on the background of the confusion the evictions caused in the post-war era, especially if the elders are able to bring in their own experiences.

Recommendations edit

  • Online discussions rarely get lively by themselves. Be sure to jump-start discussions with a real-life meeting, and have a moderator give regular input in the forum.
  • In this proect, participants would have enjoyed more face-to-face meetings. If your budget allows it, organize such meetings regularly.
  • Give all participants a hands-on introduction to any technical/online tools you want to use during your project.
  • Be sure to provide quick personal technical assistance to any older adults or pupils encountering problems.

Background Information edit

Target Groups The group that gets the information mainly consisted of pupils in the 9th grade with 2/3 of them having a migrant background. The group providing the information was made up of seniors, who, in some cases, were native Poles or had a Polish background. The whole activity involved around 40 people.

The activity is based on the book “Kalte Zeiten“[1] (German for cold times), which describes the troubles a young girl has to stand in Poland of the war and post-war era. The girl, Lena, born in Germany has to cope with forced labour, being separated from her family and never having known her original home. Her character is based on a true story.

Most of the exchange between the pupils and the elders took place in forums of the website kojala.de, so the elders could get in touch with internet forums in a closed space and give their views and experiences to pupils who got a chance to understand the book in another way than they would have through sole reading. In addition to this mostly open exchange there were some tasks the pupils had to execute and document in the forums, so some work on texts that traditionally takes place in class room was moved to the forums and “supervised“ by the seniors (and also the teacher). Besides the online exchange, so called "Story Telling Cafes" were held, at which both groups could meet each other face to face.

The project was held from April to July 2011 and repeated in another course at the end of 2011.

Partners The partners for this project were

The project was supervised and supported by TAO.

Results The evaluation of the virtual old-young learning project “Kalte Zeiten” is based on concomitant observation, statistics on participation and interviews with the participants.
Using the statistics on participation (posting of comments and page views), the dynamics of the virtual learning project can be shown as a curve (see graphic below). The orange curve shows the amount of page views in the forum. The blue columns represent the number of new comments (per day). The green lines stand for impulses (work assignments) given by the team or the teacher, e.g. by e-mail. The light blue line marks an “ErzählCafé” (story telling cafe), in which the participants met personally. The learning project was bordered by school holidays.

It is obvious that the participants visited the project website quite often at the beginning of the project. Active comments were left far less often. The impulses (assignments, café) resulted in an increase of activity. It is interesting to see that work on the project continued during the holidays. Generally, the pupils rated the project positively. Of 25 interviewed pupils, 18 thought the project was an interesting addition to their usual lessons, and only one judged it clearly negatively. The seniors were generally also satisfied with the contact between young and old. Yet, it showed that technical problems made a regular participation in the project difficult for them, especially in the starting phase.
The topic of the project was interesting for seniors. It allowed them to tell their own experiences. Reflecting their own past and memories was deemed beneficial by the seniors. They thought the contact with younger people to be motivating, but would have preferred more opportunities for personal meetings. The old-young project not only shows that personal relations are particularly valued by participants in intergenerational learning processes, but also that these can be created online. The careful construction of intergenerational and online learning projects plays a very important role in this context. This is especially true for the form of collaboration (e.g. tandem, group work), the use of technology (e-mails, forums, chats, videoconferences etc.) and the support of the (self-) learning process through impulses.

Links edit

External Links edit

ZAWiW Homepage

Other Handbook chapters edit

Facebook Activities


References edit

  1. Kalte Zeiten, Werner Toporski, Random House / cbt Jugendbücher Verlag, ISBN 3-641-01023-3