The Pilsen City Library actively supports digital education for seniors. Basic training in computer use is provided by all of its large operations, and as part of the Digital Odyssey project, seniors are also taught how to properly operate a tablet or smartphone and how to navigate the Internet safely.
The project Seniors write Wikipedia is also part of digital education for seniors in the Pilsen City Library.
| Photo: courtesy of the Pilsen City Library
Those who are more advanced can use the library to edit Wikipedia, for example. Everything is free, you just need to be a registered user of the library and make an appointment in advance.
Thanks to the Digital Odyssey project, seniors over the age of 65 can borrow a tablet or smartphone from the library at home or get advice on how to use it – both individually and in courses with an expert lecturer. “The digital divide between generations is widening. Everything is increasingly moving to the Internet, so it is important to ensure that no one is left behind on the journey to the digital world,” says Zbyněk Topinka, head of the Music and Internet Library and course organizer. “Therefore, the content of the lesson can be orientation on the web, setting up and using an e-mail box and a personal profile on social networks, explaining how to use portable devices such as a flash drive, help with data backup, basic work with photography or help with installing freely available applications “, he adds.
Loans of tablets and mobile phones and individual consultations are offered by the Central Library for Adults, the Music and Internet Library and the Lochotín Regional Library, and the Skvrňany Regional Library is also preparing them. Also, in all other large operations of the Plzeň City Library, seniors can familiarize themselves with the basic use of a computer, the Internet, e-mail, a text editor, the library catalog or Facebook. In addition, the music and internet library organizes longer courses with an expert lecturer and offers demonstrations of 3D printing.
However, even more advanced users can develop computer skills with the library. If there is a sufficient number of interested parties, a Wikipedia editing course is opened Seniors write Wikipedia. It is intended for everyone who already understands computers and the Internet and would like to learn how to contribute to the largest Internet encyclopedia. “We welcome seniors who want to share their valuable lifelong experiences and knowledge,” invites Pavla Chládková, ICT administrator and course instructor. “When writing Wikipedia, you can apply all kinds of knowledge and skills – from expertise in all fields, through translations from foreign language Wikipedias, bibliographic “sourcing” of articles to their language editing,” he adds. The courses are followed by regular meetings of the Wikiclub, where those interested in contributing to the Internet encyclopedia meet and where at least one intermediate Wikipedian is always available to them for possible consultations.
As part of the Digital Odyssey project, the Pilsen City Library has already organized five courses with a professional lecturer from the organization Moudrá Sovička, which 58 seniors have attended. Another 113 consultations were carried out individually by library staff. Since 2017, when the first one took place, 51 new Wikipedians have passed the Seniors write Wikipedia courses, and the Wikiclub, which is held approximately once a month, always gathers 6-8 participants.
Digital Odyssey is a free learning project for seniors 65+ who need help developing their digital skills – especially those who have rarely or never been online. It was prepared by the Vodafone Czech Republic Foundation as part of the Hi Digital international program. The Seniors Write Wikipedia program is an initiative aimed at involving seniors in the creation and use of the Czech Wikipedia with the aim of improving its quality and expanding the content with their knowledge and experience. It was initiated in 2013 by Professor Jan Sokol, who himself was a long-time enthusiastic Wikipedian. Improving the digital literacy level of seniors can have a positive impact on their practical life and mental health. It will offer them opportunities to obtain information, to connect with essential services and to engage more socially with family and friends.