This blog is going to address my concerns about working as an adult educator in the social media age and how I balance that with the moral imperative to educate adults to succeed in a rapidly changing world.
Specifically, I am going to discuss three areas that concern me as an adult educator: the first is the marginalization of the elderly in Canada, the second is the role that social media can play in engaging elderly people and the third is the importance of intergenerational learning.
Adult education is founded on a focus on citizenship for a democratic society and many times the adult learner is marginalized based on their age, literacy or language amongst many other factors (Watkins & Marsick, 2014). In Saskatchewan, we have an aging population and our aging population is also rural. Mott (2008), discusses the complex, dynamic and varied needs of the older adult learners in rural areas. This presents a unique challenge to adult educators in Saskatchewan.
It is important to use social media to engage the elderly. With an aging population in rural areas I believe that it is important for adult educators to teach social media in order to engage older learning and allow them to have a means to connect. I found a video on YouTube about a 16 year old in Florida who set up a “tech school” to teach social media to senior citizens.
The seniors were able to see their children and grandchildren on facebook, make facebook live videos, and discover how technology can connect them. To me, the most important factor is that the adult learners are engaging in continuous learning that also allows them to stay connected. Connectedness helps combat loneliness and provides access to limitless resources for continuous learning.
Manuel Lima’s discussion of The Power of Network’s talks about the importance of unity, interconnectivity and networks. Society is filled with interconnectivity and it is imperative that adult educators capitalize on the power of social media to connect those (such as the elderly) who may be isolated and unconnected.
Based on the importance of interconnectivity and interaction it is crucial for adult educators to prioritize intergenearational learning. I posted an article on my twitter feed this week about intergenerational learning. The article focuses on social interaction and participation of older people. If older people are engaged, they have a space to share and learn which is mutually beneficial for the younger generation and for the older generation.
Do elderly people in your lives use social media? Has it been helpful to them? Do any of the k-12 teachers do any intergenerational learning initiatives? What do the nurse educators think about intergenerational learning? Have you seen elderly patients engaged and learning on social media?