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e-Bridging the age gap

It's a sad fact that many changes in society have led to generations often becoming segregated from each other, although they each have resources of value to the others.

This year we have launched a whole-school e-learning citizenship project, called Generation Together, to raise awareness of how all ages can work together and learn from each other.

One of our first tasks was to create a citizenship zone on the school's intranet and website. This covers general aspects of citizenship, such as caring for the environment, healthy living, friendship and keeping safe, as well as an area specifically dedicated to generations together. However, the heart of our project is a 10-week basic computer course for grandparents, with the class meeting on Wednesday afternoons in our ICT suite. Year 5 pupils form the project group and act as facilitators, after being trained in word processing, desktop publishing, search engines and PowerPoint and, more importantly, communication and teaching skills.

The first course was a great success and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

Participants who knew nothing about computers are now proud of their new skills and keen to progress. The facilitators, too, have gained much from talking to and helping the older generation. It really has been a winwin situation. In a letter of appreciation, the grandparents said: "Each morning we wake to the news that another pensioner has been robbed, hurt or attacked in their home. What better way to educate our young adults of tomorrow than through projects like Generations Together?

Gillian Stevenson ICT Co-ordinator, Comber Primary School, Co Down, Northern Ireland www.comberps.newtownards.ni.sch.uk

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