As part of its educational mission, the Polytechnic Institute of Leiria has been
developing a lifelong learning project, Program IPL 60+, where senior students
are provided with learning opportunities on themes of interest to this age group.
These seniors, being also a part of the so-called Knowledge Society, must seek
to know and learn the “new literacies” to be and feel part of this society. Therefore,
Program IPL 60+ includes “computer literacy “as part of the curricular
offer of this project.
Designing a curriculum in “informatics” that appeals to this age group and implementing
it in a course offers several challenges. Besides the specific profile
of students in this age group, which requires specific methodological choices, we
must frame the course contents taking into consideration the needs and interests
of each student, so that each one can make an adequate appropriation of the
technologies. This issue presents a greater challenge when we consider that a
significant part of this population does not know a priori all these technologies
and their potential and, thus, cannot express their interests to the trainers concerning
what would they like to learn.
This paper presents a proposal to offer ICT training for this audience, based on an
informatics course of 3 academic years. This proposal comes from the experience
of the authors in this project and is based on some theoretical frameworks on
methodological issues, seeking to make a compromise between the expectations of students, meeting the interests directly manifested, and the introduction of
new concepts and potential of the technologies that they generally don’t know.
We observed that students try to appropriate the material learned, giving it a
personal meaning and a creative use and therefore, a compromise between the
subjects that students wish to learn and the introduction of new “unknown”
subject material can be advantageous.