MODULE 7

ICT METHODS FOR GENDER EQUALITY

Interactive methods in engendered education of older women – methods of delivery

Introduction

This module is a demonstration of how to use new technologies, ICT skills and learning methods in older women’s education.

 

Module in a nutshell                                

The module consists of three units followed by Check Your Understanding and References.

  • Unit 1. Digitizing interactive face-to face learning methods: ICT methods in education
  • Unit 2. Gender equality and ICT
  • Unit 3. ICT and education for (older) women
  • Check your understanding. Are the following statements True or False?
  • References

Unit 1. Digitizing interactive face-to face learning methods: ICT methods in education

 

Face-to-face learning is a teaching/learning method where course contents are transmitted to learners and the group members’ learning is triggered to create new knowledge. This ensures live interaction between adult learners themselves and the educator. Face-to-face learning is a traditional type of learning. Adult learners benefit from a greater level of interaction with their counterparts in the study group. Face-to-face learning gives group members the opportunity to bond with each other. Such methods are for example: collaborative learning, exploratory learning, group projects, role-playing, games, simulations, debates, group discussion, etc.

 

These methods are rather useful in adult learning and education. However, in the digital age and since the onset of the Covid-19 health crisis, it has become more and more important to adjust these learning methods by using new technologies[1]. Now, you are probably wondering how to proceed with the digitization/digitalization of these interactive learning methods?

 

This can be done through blended learning[2], or multimodal learning, an approach that combines face-to-face education/training/learning with online learning activities, while focusing on the learner’s experience.

[1] Eva Andersson, ICT in adult education

[2] From, Blended Learning for Adult Educators

 

Activities

Face-to-face approach

Blended learning or combined/multimodal learning

Adult learners are involved in project learning

Adult learners meet in a study room to work together and contribute to the project.

Adult learners use online messengers and community, as well as task managers to plan their work and track their progress. They also use file-sharing services (e.g. Google docs) to collaborate and share feedback on the project progress.

Adult learners practice conversation in a foreign language in pairs or small groups.

Adult learners are divided into sub-groups during a session, and they discuss a topic.

In addition to group discussions, adult learners use online text and voice services (e.g. chat, Facebook group).

Adult learners practice debates

Adult learners watch a video in their learning group and discuss what they have understood.

The educator can share a link to a video, giving learners the opportunity to view it at home, send feedback by email, and then discuss it in the study group.

Evaluation

Adult learners complete written assignments and take mid-course and terminal (final) tests.

Activity statistics are used to track adult learners' progress. They take online quizzes and tests, submit digital materials, and participate in cross-evaluations with each other.

 

Unlike exclusively online courses, the online part of the blended course does not completely replace face-to-face education/training/learning with an educator or learning facilitator. He or she incorporates technology in the learning process to enhance the learning experience and expand the understanding of some topics.

Unit 2. Gender equality and ICT

 

According to ITU “In 2019, the share of women using the Internet worldwide amounted to 48%, as compared to 58% of men[1]. The gender gap has been shrinking in Europe while in the Arab States, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa, the gender gap has been growing. Since 2013 there have been more male than female new Internet users.

 

Moreover, the “ICT Gender equality paradox”[2] has been brought to light. Countries that are much better than other countries at achieving overall gender equality, such as European countries, have the fewest women acquiring the advanced skills needed for careers in the technology sector. Currently, only around 17% of the almost 8 million ICT specialists in Europe are women[3]. This paradox reveals the need for measures to encourage inclusion of women in digital skills training, notwithstanding their age.

 

It has also become obvious that ICT have led to the creation of jobs for both men and women (according to the UNESCO document named ITC and Gender[4]). Nevertheless, the information economy goes on reproducing forms of gender segregation, with men in high-skilled, high-value-added jobs, while women remain concentrated in unskilled, low value-added sectors.

 

On the other hand, ICT skills are also tools for social transformation and promotion of equality.

 

Let us consider some examples:

  • In many places, NGOs are testing e-commerce initiatives that link craftswomen directly to global markets via Internet. NGOs support their activities by providing the market and production information to them. For example WTFO[5] (World Fair Trade Organization), supports marginalised small producers while 74% of them are female farmers and craftswomen.
  • Governments have initiated e-governance programs that use ICT to provide citizens with a better electronic access to government services, accompanied, in some cases, by an explicit strategy to ensure effective access for women and those who face difficulties in accessing these services. For example, in Denmark, in Portugal[6], in UK or in Estonia[7].
  • Health educators use radio broadcasting to disseminate information on women's sexual and reproductive health in some countries. On the radio France Inter[8] are broadcast programmes dealing with the female sexuality and related society's cultural imperatives.

 

In addition, today’s social networks are a powerful tool used in the struggle against gender inequality[9]. They allow the sharing of information and liberate the voice of women due to the emergence of social movements such as the "Me Too". This movement focused on sexual abuse in America, has expanded into all gender issues and sexual abuse in society as a whole. This keyword has spread throughout Europe applying to inequalities and abuses of women in various professional environments, from fun or cultural industries to sports and politics.

 

These studies show that although ICT is now well established in Europe, tools are not yet reaching men and women equally. There is still a need to promote their use and creation of the associated value through education and training. It is essential to address the entire population, and more specifically older women, who traditionally are the most vulnerable concerning gender equality issues. The use of new technologies and ICT is urgently needed in older women’s education in order to empower them and move them closer to the social mainstream.

 

[1] From ITU, International Telecommunication Union, Bridging the gender divide, 2019

[2] From UNESCO, ICT Gender paradox

[3] From EIGE, Women in ICT sector

[4] From UNESCO, ICT and Gender

[5] From, WTFO website

[6] The Portugal Plan, in ICT for Elderly People: «Yes, ‘They’ Can!»

[7] The underlying causes of the digital gender gap and possible solutions for enhanced digital inclusion of women and girls

[8] France inter

[9] Les femmes à l’assaut du numérique

Unit 3. ICT and education for (older) women

 

From their appearance in the 50s with the automation of tasks, to the democratization of the Internet, new technologies have considerably changed society and the work environment. They have constantly created new ways of doing things. As a result of it, many jobs have gradually disappeared and new tasks requiring specific skills have emerged. Today more than ever, it is important for adults to learn continuously in order to upgrade their professional skills, learn new skills and be able to remain socially integrated and active.

 

The study conducted in the communication document named "Making a European Area of Lifelong Learning a Reality", published by the European Commission and Council Resolution on Lifelong Learning[1], has highlighted the importance of lifelong learning for competitiveness and employability, but also for social inclusion, active citizenship and personal growth. This is even truer regarding older people and older women who are often excluded from society because of their lack of education and training.

 

For older women, organized learning is a way to get out of their daily routines of housewives or retirees and find a new career path.

 

Several organizations have emerged to take up the challenge of reaching out to the least qualified older people as to train them to face current and future digital transformations.

 

For example:

  • Silver geek:[2] is the result of a collective dynamics in Poitou-Charentes (France) initiated back in 2014, which has made digital technology available to older people. The project aims to break the isolation of older people and promotes intergenerational social bonds. Since then entertaining digital workshops have been led by a hundred or so civic service volunteers. They are offered every week using the facilities of organizations for older people or of older people or community centres. In the workshops, tablets and game consoles have been used.
  • Old’up[3]: develops actions for older learning audience that include two older generations from 70 to over 90 years of age. Actions take place in nursery homes and residential homes as well as within the network of public nursery homes. In 2019, Old Up launched an experimental project concerning the use of digital tablets by nonagenarians.

 

This has been made possible through different digital learning approaches:

  • Edutainment: a blend of educational material and entertainment (ex: escape game, serious game).
  • Mooc: an open type of distance learning that can address many participants.
  • Numerical simulations: Virtual simulations, also called screen-based simulations, are a recreation of reality depicted on a computer screen. It is focused on humans by exercising their motor skills, decision-making skills, or communication skills by using adequate software and virtual reality.

 

With access to the Internet and ICT skills women, older women included, have the opportunity to start their own businesses, sell their products on new markets, find better-paying jobs, and access education, health and financial services. This also aims to struggle against gender inequalities.

 

[1] From DDV International, Adult Education and Development

[2] Silver geek website

[3] Old'up website

Bergmark, P. (2020). Women in Tech 2020: The role of climate, gender and ICT. Retrieved from:

https://www.ericsson.com/en/blog/2020/3/women-in-tech-2020-climate-gender-ict

 

European Institute for Gender Equality. (2018). Women and men in ICT: a chance for better work–life balance - Research note. Retrieved from:

https://eige.europa.eu/publications/women-and-men-ict-chance-better-work-life-balance-research-note

 

McCoshan, A. (2017). Les TIC dans le domaine de la formation des adultes: ne parviennent-elles toujours pas à fournir des solutions optimales et durables? Retrieved from EPALE:

https://epale.ec.europa.eu/fr/blog/ict-adult-education-still-failing-deliver-optimal-and-sustainable-solutions

 

Mlambo-Ngcuka, P. (2018). Reshaping the future: Women, girls and tech for development. Retrieved from:

https://news.itu.int/reshaping-future-women-girls-icts/

 

https://www.lifeline24.co.uk/technology-for-older-people/

Activity