ICT4 Elderly

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The ICT4 the Elderly Handbook is a training space for trainers and trainees working on digital skills

ICT4 the elderly is a European project that aims to facilitate a pathway for up-skilling the digital competences of individuals between 55 and 75 and to make them aware of some of the many opportunities that the Internet offers. The ICT4 the Elderly Handbook is an online training space for trainers and trainees on specific digital skills. The goal of the handbook is to serve as a collaborative documentation space for all participants in our training activities. This is how we define are online academy: an open, public space, easily accessible, with usefull content (scenarios, educational resources and results) for other to reuse.

Our preparation activities include the collection of best practices from other successful projects to be used to develop a training manual and an online academy. Once the training materials are ready, individuals aged 55-75 will be selected through a call for applicants and will take part in the piloting as ambassadors of the project. Two pilots with 12 people each will take place in Malta and in Berlin. All these training activities will use the ICT4 the Elderly Handbook as their space of reference, documentation, collaborative editing and creation of new content.

In a nutshell, the ICT4 the elderly Handbook aims to:

  • Help the praticipants of the program to learn and find information about the differents subjects treated on the program;
  • Be the platform used by the participants to transmit what they have learn to other persons, interested by the themes treated in this course

The themes of the course are:

Internet telephony
Active Citizenship
Automatization in communication
Create in group
Online opportunities


Following this lesson learners will:

  • Know how to communicate with friends and relatives both through text and voice messages;
  • Gain a basic understanding about what is meant by emails and chatting;
  • Be able to create a Google account;
  • Know the best practices when choosing a password;
  • Be able to use Gmail to send and receive emails;
  • Be familiar with basic text formatting;
  • Understand what is meant by spam and phishing and what to do to avoid them.

The purpose of the session will be:

  • to provide an introduction to communication channels;
  • to facilitate communication via email between participants;
  • to discover new ways of communicating online;
  • to motivate participants to use the Internet as a way of communicating.

Step 1 - Communicate[edit]

Over the years, the way people communicate has changed a lot as new technologies were developed. With digital technology, and especially with the advent of the Internet, we are connected to each other more than ever before.  Thanks to the Internet, people in different countries can not only speak to each other in real-time, but also see each other as if they were in the same room.  During this lesson you will learn how to use the Internet for communication using email as well as real-time voice and video telephony.

Watch video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJjvsGBjy2U

Step 2 - Emails[edit]

The term email is short for electronic mail.  It is a way of sending mail over the Internet from one digital device to another. Such devices may include smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.  Sending emails has many advantages when compared to traditional mail (nowadays called snail mail).  Let’s take a look at some of these benefits.

Advantages of email[edit]

  • Environmental friendly: since all correspondence is done electronically, no paper is required.
  • Fast delivery:  traditional post used to take days to reach the recipient, and even longer if the letter was being sent abroad.  Nowadays, the recipient will receive the email just a few seconds after you hit the send button, almost anywhere in the world. If the recipient happens to be online, you will get your reply a couple of minutes later.
  • Cheap: once you have an Internet subscription, sending and receiving an email incurs no additional costs.
  • Better organised:  when you send an email, a copy is stored in your mailbox so you always have a record of your message. When the recipient replies, the response contains a copy of the original email so it is always clear what they are replying to. You can organise emails into folders, just like files.
  • More accessibility: unlike written letters, you can check your emails from anywhere around the world where there is an Internet connection.

Case study[edit]

Paul often works late and has little time for grocery shopping. During his lunch break at work, he sometimes draws up a  shopping  list and emails it to Anna who usually does her shopping in the afternoon. Anna used  to print out Paul's email to take with her to the supermarket, but nowadays she can read email on her Smartphone. After work Paul collects his shopping when he calls for his children.

Step 3 - Create an email account[edit]

To send and receive emails you need to have an email account with an email provider. An email account gives you two things:

  • A mailbox. A mailbox is a storage space on your email provider's server where emails you receive are stored waiting for you to read them at your convenience.
  • An email address. This is the address people who wish to send you emails must use so that the email gets delivered to your mailbox. Similarly, you must know the email address of anyone you wish to send an email to. Email addresses look like this: paul.borg@gmail.com, info@skylark.edu or customercare@modernhome.com.mt

Creating your account[edit]

In this course, we will be using the services of one of the many free email providers on the Internet. Google, Yahoo and Microsoft all offer free email which you can access using your web browser. Since all your email remains in your mailbox on the provider's server, you can access all your emails from anywhere you have an Internet connection and a browser.

For the purpose of this course we are going to create a Google account so that we can start sending and receiving emails on Gmail.

  • To create a Google account, type the following URL in the address bar to load the Google home page.
  • Click on the Sign in button in the top right corner.
  • Since we don't yet have a Google account, click on the option Create an account found at the bottom of the page.
  • A page will load where you need to fill in your personal details.  At the top you need to write your name and surname.
  • In the box Choose your username, you have to decide what email address you would like to use.  Whatever username you choose will become your email address. Since many people have an email account, it can easily happen that there’s somebody else with the email address you would like to use.  If this is the case, try adding a number to the username you chose.
  • In the next box you will be asked to choose a password.  You will need to be able to remember your password, but try to find one which others will not be able to guess easily. Don't forget, anyone who knows your password will be able to access your email!

Below are some tips for choosing a secure password:

  • Don’t choose passwords which are dictionary words;
  • Don’t use something personal, such as your telephone number or your pet’s name, as your password;
  • Use a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols, but don’t complicate it too much, otherwise you won’t be able to remember it yourself;
  • Do not write your password anywhere - it might get stolen or you might lose it;
  • The password should at least be 8 characters long. In fact, Google won’t let you continue until you choose a password which is long enough.  At the side of the password field you will get a message to indicate how good your password is.

You will be asked to enter the same password twice, to make sure that you actually wrote the correct password.

  • Continue filling the rest of your personal details.  You also need to input your mobile number on which you will later on receive a verification number which will allow you to activate your account.
  • You will then have to type in the number you see - this is called a CAPTCHA, and is just a security check you will encounter on other websites too.
  • Lastly, make sure that your Location is set to Malta and tick the checkbox to indicate that you agree with the Google terms of Service and Privacy Policy.
  • Click on Next step.
  • A welcome screen will appear. Click on Get Started and you will be directed to the Google home page.

You will need to carry out the above steps only once.  The next section will explain in more detail the steps you would need to follow each time you would need to send or receive emails.

Logging into Gmail[edit]

Now that you have your own Google account you can start sending and receiving emails through Gmail.  To log on to Gmail:

  • Type the URL http://gmail.com into the address bar (you may wish to create a bookmark on the Favourites bar).
  • If you are already logged into Google, your emails will be automatically displayed.  If not, the log-in screen below will appear. The browser will most probably remember your email address, so you would just need to type in your password.  If you try to log on to Gmail from a computer you haven’t used before, you will be asked to type both your email and your password, so make sure that you remember both.


When signing into an account such as Gmail, your browser will offer to remember your user name and password so you won't have to type them in every time. Although this is a very convenient feature, make sure that you do not use it on a public computer such as in a school, the local council or an Internet Cafe.

Try this    [edit]

Create your own Google account so that later on during the lesson you can start sending and receiving emails. Share your new email address              with your friends so you can send emails to each other.

Step 4: Sending and receiving emails[edit]

Once you log into Gmail, you will be automatically directed to your Inbox mail folder, where you will see a list of emails you have received.  Unread emails are displayed in bold.  The number of unread emails in a folder is indicated next to the folder name.

Sending an email[edit]

  • Click on Compose.
  • A window will open on the right hand side, where you can type in your message.
  • In the To field, type in the email address of the person to whom you want to send the email.
  • In the Subject field, type a title which best describes what the email will be about.  This helps the person receiving the email to know beforehand what to expect in the email.
  • Type in the content of the message.
  • Once you have finished typing your message click the Send button.


You can send an email to many recipients at once - write all their email addresses in the TO box, separated with a comma.

Formatting emails[edit]

Gmail also allows you to change the font type, colour, and other formatting properties of the text you type in your email.  To open the formatting toolbar:

  • Click once on the Formatting options button.
  • The toolbar below will appear.
  • To change the font type click on Sans Serif and choose a font which you like from the list.
  • To change the Font Size click once on the Size button and choose the size which you would like to type in.
  • Click on the Bold, Italic or Underline buttons to apply the effects shown on each word.                                                                                          
  • To choose a different font colour click once on the Text Color button.  This option also allows you to choose a different font background for your text.
  • Click once on the Align button to align your text to the left, to the centre or to the right, respectively.
  • To insert a numbered list into your message click on the Numbered List button.
  • To insert a bulleted list into your message click on the Bulleted List button.

Attaching a file to an email[edit]

Sometimes you may wish to send some photos or other files with your email.  These are called attachments. To include an attachment with your email:

  • Click on the Attach files button.
  • The Choose File to Upload dialog box will appear.
  • Choose the file or picture which you want to attach to your email and click on Open.
  • The file attachment will appear as follows at the bottom of the window.

Replying to an email[edit]

To open an email you have received, simply click once on the email displayed in the Inbox folder. This opens the email for you to read and, if you wish, reply to.

There are two ways how you can reply to the email:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the email and click on the Reply link.
  • Click on the Reply button at the top of the email.

Since you would be replying to an email, the email address of the recipient will be automatically filled in for you.  All you only need to do is type in the email and click on the Send button.

Forwarding an email[edit]

Sometimes you may wish to pass on an email you have received to a friend or relative.  There are two ways in which you can forward an email:

  • Scroll to the bottom of the email and click on the Forward link.
  • Click on the arrow next to the Reply button and choose Forward.

Try this[edit]

You are going to send an email to one of your classmates following this course with any picture found on your computer as an attachment.  Your tutor will tell you which friend to email.  It’s important that you fill in the subject and body as follows:

  • Subject – Email attachment.
  • Body text – Dear friend, attached please find my favourite picture.

You should receive an email back from one of your classmates.

  • Reply to this email to thank your friend for sending you the picture.
  • Forward this email to another classmate in your class.

Step 5: Considerations when opening Emails[edit]


Spam is unsolicited promotional mail companies send to advertise their products and services. It is the electronic equivalent of junk mail. This bombardment of unsolicited mail is annoying to most email users and wastes resources. Some countries have actually made spamming illegal.

To avoid spam mail, only give your email address to people and sites you trust. Some websites may request your email address before you are allowed to browse the site - be warned that companies may collect email addresses in this way so they can distribute promotional material.

Gmail tries to automatically detect spam mail, which it removes from your inbox and stores in a special Spam folder.  Messages which remain in the Spam folder longer than 30 days are automatically deleted.

Spam detection is not perfect, so DO check your spam folder from time to time in case a genuine email was mistaken for spam. If wish to rescue an email from the Spam folder:

  • Click on the checkbox next to the email.
  • Click on the Not spam button.

The email will now be moved to your Inbox folder.

If on the other hand, you receive unsolicited mail in your Inbox, you can send it to the spam folder by clicking on the Report spam button.

Email scams and phishing[edit]

Frequently you will receive unsolicited emails offering you millions, or claiming you have won a huge prize in a lottery you never even heard of, and asking you for your bank account details. Such emails are obviously fraudulent, and few people fall for them any more.

But sometimes you may receive an email which genuinely appears to be from your bank or another trusted institution asking you for confidential information such as your password or your credit card PIN number. Beware. Such emails are almost always fraudulent because trusted institutions will never conduct sensitive business over email. This practice of using fraudulent emails to obtain confidential information is called Phishing. Sometimes the email will contain a link to a site which looks exactly like your Internet Banking site - do not be taken in. Sometimes the email will threaten closure of your bank account or credit card if you don't follow the instructions in it - ignore it.

In order to avoid such scams, never take emails which appear to be asking for confidential information seriously - do not click on any hyperlinks in them, do not reply to them, do not do what they say. Just delete them.

Case Study[edit]

Paul takes care to keep his anti-virus software up to date, has enabled the firewall on his router, and makes sure never to click on email attachments he is not expecting. But recently he almost fell victim to a new kind of Internet scam. He received an email that appeared to come from his bank asking him to log into his online banking account and update his personal information.  He clicked on the URL in the email  and went straight to his bank's website - or so it seemed. In reality, the    URL in the email took Paul to a look-alike website. The copycat site was so exactly identical to the website Paul uses for his internet banking that without thinking he entered his username and password. But before clicking LOG IN he remembered reading about something called phishing and checked the URL in the address bar carefully. It's a good thing he did - the URL was ALMOST exactly like his bank's except for one letter!

Internet Telephony[edit]

Following this lesson learners will:

  • Be able to download and install a Windows application;
  • Know how to create a Skype account;
  • Be able to use online telephony, mainly through Skype.

The purpose of the session will be:

  • To provide an overview of how participants can maximise the use of the Internet through telephony;
  • To facilitate live communication;
  • To discuss new ways of communicating online;
  • To motivate participants to use the Internet for live communication.

Communicating world-wide has never been easier and cheaper than today. Thanks to digital advances we can now talk to and see, in real time, relatives and friends who live thousands of kilometres away.  This can be done using just an Internet connection and a telephony program such as Skype. 

If you don’t already have Skype installed on your computer, you will need to download and install it, as follows:

  • Navigate to the webpage at http://www.skype.com
  • Click on the Downloads button at the top of the page.
  • Click on the Get Skype for Windows Desktop button.
  • Follow the instructions displayed on the Skype website to complete the installation.

Before you can start to use Skype you need to create a Skype account. To do so click on the Create a new account button

You will be directed to the Skype sign up page, where you have to input your personal information, just like the details we had to input to create a Google account.

Once your account is created, type in the username and password and click on Sign me in

Once you sign in, you can start looking for people you know on Skype by typing their name and surname in the search box and clicking on Find this person

A number of contacts with the name you input will appear and when you find the person you were looking for, click on the Add contact button. A request is sent to your new contact asking whether they accept.

When your contacts are online, you can see an icon like this  next to their name. You can use Skype to call online contacts for free. You can set your own online status from the drop-down list next to your name at the top-left corner of the Skype window.

Setting up a voice call[edit]

To set up a voice call, you will need to have a microphone and speakers connected to your computer. To start the call:

  • Click on the name of an online contact you wish to call.
  • Click on the Call button.

Setting up a video call[edit]

To set up a video call with one of your contacts you will need to have a webcam connected to your computer, in addition to the microphone and speakers.  To start the video call:

  • Click on the name of an online contact you wish to call.
  • Click on the Video call button.
  • Once the other person accepts your call, you can start seeing and talking to each other.


You can also use Skype to send short text messages (called chatting). To start chatting with one of your contacts:

  • Click on the contact's name.
  • Type your message in the chat area at the bottom right of the Skype window.

Case Study[edit]

Ever since Petra moved to Australia, she has made it a point to keep constant contact with her parents in Malta. Before she used to call on the phone once a week to catch up on how they were doing. She tried      to be as concise as possible during their conversations, since the long-            distance call rates were very expensive. Things got much better when          Anna, Petra’s mum, installed Skype on her computer. Thanks to Skype they can now talk to each other for as long as they like, as well as see each other.

Try this   [edit]

Create a new Skype account and add some of your classmates as contacts so that you can practice chatting amongst each other.

Active Citizenship[edit]

Following this lesson learners will:

  • Recognises the difference between being a citizen and a netizen and will identify practices to become a more engaged netizen
  • Recognise behaviours netizens have at local, national and global scale
  • Recognise the opportunities online services and platforms bring to personal expression  at a political level (e.g. propose new services, suggest changes, expression of opinions, etc)
  • Recognise the importance of voting online and knows how to vote online
  • Understands the opportunities and communicating with institutions for online participation (strengthening citizenship online)

The notion of citizenship now seems well established, everyone is a citizen of a geographically delimited state. The citizen has rights and duties. The word "citizen" has  seen a clear increase in popularity recently, to the point of transforming itself now in multiple expressions and social movements (citizen actions, citizen behaviors, etc ..) It also comes more and more often in political speeches, as  governments call citizens to action and engagement in social causes.

Active citizens do different things to improve the lives of others. They contribute to social justice in their community by taking action on issues or contributing somehow in order to make a difference. They question the way things are done and the system behind it. Being a citizen in the internet is not much different, people just use digital tools to either solve problems or use/choose tools and their behaviours in a conscious and social way. Active online citizenship (netizenship) can be demonstrated at many levels, like globally, nationally and locally. Good practices, habits and collaborative skills form this netizenship culture.

Global examples of active citizen groups working together online include international organisations such as: Wikipedia, Creative Commons, GreenPeace, International Amnesty, The Red Cross, etc.

National groups working for the common good and using the internet as a tool to create events (like National Clean Up Day, “plant a tree” day), or to engage people in political manifestations (Fridays for the future), or to promote a social movement in a specific country (like Framasoft.org).  

Local active netizens may work within a school committee, church group, community organisation or with the local council to make change in the immediate community. Their actions can range from organising and disseminating activities with locals, to raise awareness for a cause, or even participate in the discussions and planning at a political level. An example of local political citizenship would be identifying and advocating to the local council to provide additional facilities or finance specific projects for the community (a good example is the local participatory budgeting calls some cities run with great success).

In the same way citizens who are not engaged or motivated don’t contribute to the community and some times are the cause of some issues, netizens demonstrating digital incivility are not aware of the deterioration they are imposing on the public information space. A netizen who is not engaged, consciously or not, participates in behaviours like: to share spam, to share fake news, to contribute to the cacophony of  misinformation on the internet, to share hate and intolerance speech, does not collaborate with others, among many other examples.

On the other hand, bringing the citizenship to the digital domain opens doors to new opportunities and solutions. In modern democracies, almost everyone has the right to vote. It is an acquired fact. Butthis doesn’t mean that everybody votes, in fact voter turnout rates continue to weaken from one election to the next. We can not deny the crisis of confidence that globally reaches modern democracies, this crisis of confidence also contributes to the apparent lack of interest and engagement in citizenship. Many countries are looking for solutions for this global problem, and countries who have taken the pole to the digital platforms have had good success rates. E-voting brings new possibilities to the people. Now people can vote even if they are abroad, or have difficulties  in accessing to pole sites. Also, it the internet and digital devices make it easier for people to react out for information. It is easier for people to know what each candidate or side defends in their campaigns, which makes people more engaged and more likely to vote.

Many countries, like Frech-speaking Switzerland for instance, took the voting online a step further and turned the voting system into a collaborative and participative approach, they share the open source code for the voting platform with anyone who wants to contribute to it. This helps citizens to engage and to trust the system better as it is more transparent to them.

Many times, being an active citizen just means to establish  good communication channels with the local and regional agents and stakeholders. More and more governments and other political institutions create spaces to promote direct communication with the people.We believe that digital tools can have a big impact to promote citizenship as through the internet and digital tools, people have access to more information and a space to express their opinions and be heard.

This is exactly why we should raise awareness to the field of digital to promote citizenship even when online. Now, more than ever, we should invest in the promotion of netizen behaviour and practices to avoid the alienation of citizenship in the digital world.

Education is key to foster democratic and civic participation at local, national, European and even at a global level. Learning how to become an active citizen in the internet is about knowledge and intentional attitudes, which requires the use of methodologies and digital tools that involve learners actively participating in their own learning process. Civic and social participation are fundamental to European values and democracy in general.

A netizen participates actively in the information society, helps other users in forums. comments and enriches the debates, feeds his/her ePortfolio, bringing together all contributions from personal and professional life. A netizen surfs without advertising and in social networks co-animated by enthusiasts with the same interests as him. Consults his peers rather than experts, diversifies his social and professional activities. It is permanently self-reinforcing, challenging itself and opening up to new horizons. All of this is possible thanks to the very properties of digital world.

Netizenship is often the result of awareness and development of critical thinking about digital media. It allows us to take responsibility because we can see the traces of each of our contribution, which reinforces the motivation to act for the common good, in a virtuous circle.

Curriculums teaching active citizenship online should be competence-based, aiming to equip learners with democratic attitudes and social, civic and intercultural competences, as well as key competences for everyday life. They represent an essential toolbox that every citizen should have in today’s complex and fast-changing global world. We also need to build learners’ capacity to think critically and creatively, to explore new ways of acting locally and globally to make informed and adequate decisions.


Citizenship, netizenship, netizen, citizen of the web, political and social engagement, e-voting, communication with local authorities, democracy and participation.