Published in April 2014
Experimentation Institute E-seniors through Age Engage Workshops
As a part of the European Grundtvig project called MoTech, Institute E-seniors created a local partnership project with the Parisian branch of Google Company. The aim of this project was to encourage the use of new technology tools among the elderly, to present them the possibilities and tools offered by Google and to encourage the E-Seniors voluntary ICT-trainers to update their courses with the help of different Google solutions.
This partnership, named Age Engage Workshop is a part of the company’s social responsibility policies called « Google Gives ». The principal is that each month, every Google employee has to contribute to a worthwhile effort (about 7 hours).
1. The First Age Engage Workshop
The first Age Engage Workshop, was held on November 25th, 2013. Seven employees from Google agreed to join this workshop meeting some senior members and voluntary ICT-trainers of Institute E-Seniors. Overall there were about 20 people during this afternoon.
Before the meeting Institute E-seniors asked the participating senior trainees and trainers their expectations and useful topics for them in the workshop. Notably the following issues came up:
· Explanations of icons Google homepage
· Explanation of useful applications (maps, drive....)
· The easy use of Gmail
· Advantages of Google chrome compared to other browsers?
· Differences between Google and Google docs drive?
· What is Google +?
· Link between PICASA and Google+?
· Questions about PICASA
Participants worked in tandem (1 Google employee/1 senior or 1 trainer volunteer) on a Chromebook (a computer developed by Google). The idea was that each senior could ask for advice about Internet or Google applications (Google Drive, Google+, google maps) .
The atmosphere in the meeting was relaxed and friendly. According to seniors (including the trainees and the voluntary ICT-teachers), this first session was very useful and stimulating. They all agreed that Google employees were very pleasant and excited about sharing their knowledge and discussing with them.
The first feedbacks are very positive from the both sides.
Here are some reactions from seniors and voluntary trainers of Institute E-seniors :
« This session was a good initiative from Institute E-Seniors and Google. The trainer showed me functions I have never used before and these could be very useful in future. »
« It was a very nice experience, very nice atmosphere. I received very good advices from my trainer and I look forward to taking part in other sessions like this one. »
« Reception conditions and material conditions were both excellent! I received some advices and initiations as Google Drive. »
And here are some reactions from Google employees:
« Thank you for this opportunity, it was very rewarding. »
« It was a very interesting experience. My « learner » knows as much as I know myself ! The contact and exchange was very rewarding. »
After the meeting we did a "return of experience" with Google, whether in the technical / logistic field and in the educational field so that the workshops as adapted for its public. Several points were raised:
· Seniors need a "suitable" computer and a chrome book special senior with mouse?
· No longer sessions than 90 minutes
· During the sessions, it could be interesting to split sessions in two parts:
o The first part would be more theoretical (one trainer would explain a specific tool to all)
o The second part would be more practical (work in tandem in which trainers would answer to questions from seniors)
· Dispose written material (guides, to help them remember what was discussed)
· Organize sessions by theme and level groups
· Organize a free exchange in the end of the session to see if they have understood the lessons learned. This could be don for instance in form of a Quiz.
Conclusions from the first Age Engage Workshop:
· Positive aspects for Google: get feedback from senior citizens with respect to their software and usability of their computers.
· Positive aspects for Institute E-Seniors: improve the ICT-trainer competencies and deepend their knowledge related to the Google tools, which will help them to adapt their teaching techniques.
The 2 partners have agreed to continue the experimentation. Furthermore, Institute E-Seniors will organize a preparatory meeting with its senior participants in order to identify the topics of their interest in advance.
2. The Second Age Engage Workshop
The second Age Engage Workshop, was held on February 3th, 2014.
8 seniors of Institute E seniors participated in this workshop and 4 “googlers “.
To take account of comments / observations of the First Session the workshop began with a short theoretical presentation of the Google's tool "Hangout" .
“HANGHOUT” is an instant multi-messaging available on PC, smartphones or tablets. Free service that works via Gmail and Google+ social network. (This requires that the two people who wish to discuss together on Hangout have a Gmail account first).
A person connected to the computer can also communicate with a person connected on his smartphone.
Different services are offered:
Possibility to download icons + photos while we discuss online, to receive responses from friends / colleagues instantaneous, of video conferencing (up to 9 people in total) , to share documents on line and screen sharing (show pictures, videos interlocutor).
This presentation be found in Annex 1 of this document.
Then the students were divided in 4 sub groups with a “googler” who exchanged and communicated on the following themes:
The topics addressed by senior citizens in the different groups were:
· Gmail : Creating a Gmail address , search for emails , names, various applications presented ( Drive, Maps etc.).
· Maps: finding its way, routes, use Street view to locate the chosen streets
· Google Chrome: Google sync information with the browser, use "favourites"......
As in the first meeting, this workshop was held in a warm and studious atmosphere.
The framework and materials were adapted to this type of meeting. The " Googlers " were very friendly and attentive to the students. They did not hesitate to answer any questions and give demonstrations in real time on the Chromebook.
The general view of this second meeting was that it was very productive and interesting for seniors. However, some seniors have told us that the vocabulary was sometimes difficult to assimilate and that the level was perhaps a little high.....
"The warm welcome from the whole team and the encouragement of " Googlers " this was my coach on the chosen theme , Google Maps, have enriched my knowledge quickly ! The Hangout presentation was interesting but the vocabulary was sometimes out of reach for me. "
3. The Third Age Engage Workshop
The third Age Engage Workshop, was held on March 26th, 2013.
This meeting is part of a particular framework where hundreds of national and international managers of Google met at the enterprise’s headquarters in Paris for this exceptional work meeting.
Therefore, this time, during the Age Engage workshop, the young Parisian Google employees, who used to advise our voluntary senior participants, were replaced by managers from several countries.
Two employees from Google France and several managers from Google international agreed to join this workshop meeting some senior members and voluntary ICT-trainers of Institute E-Seniors.
All E-Senior participants were divided into two separate rooms. In each room, five seniors discovered the Google tools with their Google mentors. In total there were around twenty Google managers (from France, Italy, Spain and Poland ) instructing and introducing the seniors with Google-solutions.
The following themes were discussed:
· Social Networks: Google+ and Hangouts (managers have also tested live this communication tool ),
· Google Maps Street View
These themes were chosen as the participants desired to learn more about these solutions that they consider very useful for all different user categories.
This workshop was concluded with a debriefing gathering all the Age Engage Participants.
The reactions of the seniors were, as at other times, very positive. In addition, as the communication language of this workshop was English, the participants were very satisfied to have this opportunity use and improve their English skills as well.
"It was a very interesting and very useful meeting. I now know how to use these tools. Thank you for this invitation. "
"Nice workshop and impeccable organization. This meeting allowed me to make progress in my knowledge of the Internet and English. "
After these workshops the volunteer teachers of the institute E seniors have decided to adapt their new courses in September 2014, and putting into practice the Google tools that they learnt to use. This chosen tool is the « Google maps » and the geolocalisation.