"Internet ABC-book" – helping seniors to learn basic computer skills

"Internet ABC-book" – helping seniors to learn basic computer skills

In 2014, Rostelecom and the Pension Fund of Russia (PFR) signed an agreement on cooperation in teaching pensioners to use a computer. The purpose of the contract is to improve the quality of life through teaching computer literacy and the Internet use, as well as helping older people obtain public services in electronic form.

As part of the implementation of the Agreement, in 2014, Rostelecom and PFR prepared a special educational manual for seniors called “Internet ABC-book”. The manual was compiled by teachers, psychologists, gerontologists and IT experts. The program of the course is constantly updated, and new modules and relevant information are added in the manual.

The manual can be used as a self-instruction material when working on a computer and on the Internet, as well as a book for a specialized training course of computer literacy for pensioners, offered throughout Russia. The electronic version of the "Internet ABC book" is available on the www.azbukainterneta.ru training portal along with video aids, presentations of every topic of the textbook, useful links, methodological recommendations as regards specific features of teaching older people, the necessary technical fit-out of classes.

The first training sessions under the "Internet ABC" program were held in 2014 in Bryansk, Volgograd, Vologda, Stavropol and Tula. Special computer courses were organized for the classes. In Nizhny Novgorod and Nizhny Novgorod Region, social welfare agencies instrumented for use and provided 128 computer classes for training under the ABC program. In November 2015, the program was presented at the Russian Center for Science and Culture in Yerevan. On completions of the event, materials adapted for Russian-speaking pensioners living in the Republic of Armenia appeared on the ABC portal.

More than 20 thousand users visit the Internet portal every month; over 3,440 people are registered in the "Teacher" section. In 2018, more than 85 thousand pensioners received computer and Internet skills. In total, over 250 thousand pensioners from 76 regions of Russia took part in the program.

The training is divided into two courses: the basic course - for beginners and the advanced course - for those who have already mastered the basics of working on a computer and on the Internet. Modules which gave advice as regards choosing a home computer and additional equipment for it, recommendations on the use of social networks and regional Internet services: websites of regional authorities, enterprises providing housing and communal services were published in 2015. In 2016, materials on financial Internet literacy, job search on the Internet, and programs necessary for employment appeared on the ABC portal. In 2017, modules were developed devoted to working on tablets and in video communication programs. Today, materials of seven modules of an extended training course are available on the website.

A significant contribution to the development of the project was made by online seminars for teachers and organizers of the Internet ABC training sessions. The first seminar was attended by students from 13 regions, the seminar, which took place in May 2019, was attended by more than 1,400 representatives of regional ministries of social policy, libraries and various social institutions, university professors from 51 regions. Release of the Internet ABC-book is a charity project for the Company: preparation, publication and free distribution of the manual allows one to increase the number of pensioners who can use the computer and work on the Internet, and make it easier for older people to access electronic government services and social services.

In support of the “Internet ABC” project, an annual “Thank You, Internet!” contest was organized, the participants of which tell in their works about the benefits of the Internet for the 50+ Internet audience and tell how the Internet changed and improved their lives. 3,383 older generation Internet users from 74 regions of Russia took part in the IVth All-Russia competition in 2018, which is almost 23% more than in 2017. The competition was attended by nine competitors over 90 years old, the oldest participant - Nadezhda Petrovna Myagkikh from Bratsk, Irkutsk region, has turned 101! You can download a free manual and teaching aids on the www.azbukainterneta.ru portal.