Am I digitally literate?
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - October 4, 2020 - 12:00am

I can read and write and manage with basic arithmetic. I can write a column using resources of the internet. But am I digitally literate?

Apparently I am not.

Digital literacy is to be able to engage with multi-media to read and interpret text, sounds and images. It also means to be able to manipulate and evaluate data to impart the meaning of what you want to impart.

To do all this one must know how to use technology to construct meaning, but most importantly in ways that are appropriate to their needs. It means the ability to use technology effectively to communicate a message. All this was not available during my school years. And now I am a senior citizen. I cannot pay my bills or bank accurately without my grandchildren’s help.

Indeed the impetus of this column came from a text I received about a seminar on climate change. The first speaker was my granddaughter Daniela Pedrosa.

She is a board member of the Tayo Tayo Change Agency Inc. Their campaign is on “Bye Bye Plastic bags PH Internal System and Strategies.”

The other speaker was Jon Bonifacio. He is a graduate of BS Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from UP Diliman, national spokesperson of Saribuhay. He is an active member of Youth Advocates For Climate Action Philippines (YAKAP) and advocacy manager for the recently-concluded 26th nationwide protest action of YAKAP for the Global Day of Climate action last Sept. 25. So all that talk about students not learning because they cannot attend schools because of the COVID-19 pandemic is not entirely true. Daniela said they learn by themselves through books and online resources.

It is not only in the Philippines that we have a growing number of senior citizens. The world population is ageing, causing changes in the society as whole. Ageing is a global phenomenon.

Although it is usually associated with frustration, loneliness and isolation, ageing can also be an enjoyable experience if senior citizens are provided lifelong learning opportunities, live healthy and independently with security and continue to participate in the formal labor market and society, providing their experience and services to all.

The EC and the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has worked on developing policies for active and healthy ageing. The Active Ageing Index (AAI) was developed in the context of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations 2012 (EY2012) by the European Center for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna (ECV) in close collaboration with, and advice from, the EC DG for Employment Social Affairs and Inclusion and the UN Economic Commission for Europe.

The Philippines should have one too.

Its four priority goals are to encourage longer working lives and maintain work ability, promote participation, non-discrimination and social inclusion of older persons. In effect it would promote and safeguard their dignity, health and independence in older age, and maintain and enhance intergenerational solidarity.

In the above context the GRANKIT project contributes to the efforts of M.S. to promote active ageing and intergenerational learning and raise the awareness of the society to address the challenges it brings through upgrading the digital literacy of senior citizens.

Called the GRANKIT project: Grandparents and Grandchildren Keep In Touch, it is how grandparents and grandchildren can keep in touch.

The participation of adults who are more likely to be reluctant to be engaged in lifelong learning activities contributes to the elimination of the possible feelings of loneliness, isolation and inactiveness, while their voluntary involvement will enhance communication and participation in the lives of their grandchildren or other children.

The project addresses active ageing and intergenerational solidarity through developing an innovative ICT training course that enhances senior citizens’ digital literacy skills and supports the acquisition of the necessary competences to participate in the highly technological world, both for pleasure and for business.

The project between the first and the third generations of members’ families provides digital opportunities for lifelong learning. Senior citizens – mainly grandparents – have been professionally offered ICT training to acquire basic digital skills with the involvement of their grandchildren, who will transfer their current knowledge on social networking and platform communication, so that their grandparents can communicate in the trendiest ways.

It will design an innovative social communication platform in the form of an online ‘help desk’ to be supported by volunteers (grandparents-senior citizens) which will offer an on-line chat forum for private or group discussion. The GRANKIT’s help desk will provide opportunities for the promotion of digital literacy and communication.

We should adopt one in the Philippines.

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