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Spiralling through change: older people negotiating new communication technologies, a collaborative research project

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date09/2012
JournalInternational Journal of Education and Ageing
Journal number3
Volume2
Number of pages25
Pages181-206
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

How older adults make use of communication technologies is of wide interest to educators, health professionals and many others. Everyday discourse often presents older people as out of touch with new digital technologies, helpless and resistant to change but research evidence suggests a more complicated picture. This paper reports on a small-scale research collaboration with the Senior Learners Group at Lancaster University which documented everyday encounters with communication technologies and the dynamics of older peoples’ engagement with them. The data were collected by a group of older women through group discussions and interviews. The project focused on what prompts older people to learn and use new communication technologies, how change happens and how people integrate old and new technologies alongside one another in their daily lives. This paper describes the key findings from the project and particularly explores the support systems that older people use and the actual and potential role of formal educational opportunities in the negotiation of new communication technologies.