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ERIC Number: EJ800038
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Jan
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 12
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
The Myth of the Silver Surfer
Gorard, Stephen; Selwyn, Neil
Adults Learning, v19 n5 p28-30 Jan 2008
In this article, the authors write about the myth of the "silver surfers"--those third-age learners adept at using the internet and other technologies for a mixture of formal and informal learning episodes. The notion of the silver surfer has endured since the latter half of the 1990s. It is sustained by the annual Silver Surfer week, media excitement over YouTube's infamous Geriatic1927 and inclusion of ICT-using seniors into the storylines of soap operas such as the "Archers" and "Coronation Street." Here, the authors describe a caricature within popular and political discourse where older ICT users are portrayed either as omnipotent "silver surfers" who are fully wired-up and technologically active "netizens", or else marooned in a technological "grey gap" and comfortable only with the television, telephone, or transistor radio of yesteryear. They state that little attention has been paid to what older adults are actually doing with ICTs, and how engagement may vary between individuals and social groups. They also argue that the notion of the silver surfer is often an unhelpful one in understanding older adults' use of ICT. Viewing older adults' use of ICTs from a more socially diverse and nuanced perspective should form the starting point for future work in this area, as adult educators begin to get to grips with the ever-aging population. There are at least three areas in which those working with older adults need better information: (1) understanding what older adults are actually doing with ICTs; (2) understanding what ICTs can actually offer to older adults; and (3) understanding why older adults use (and do not use) ICTs.
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail: enquiries@niace.org.uk; Web site: http://www.niace.org.uk/Publications/Periodicals/Default.htm
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A