generation gap


Europa 2111

25 May 2012

Through the work of the partnership – 9 members coming from different European countries - it focuses on the development of new Educational tools and new forms of Training, combining the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the need to explore in its complexity the developing concept of European Identity.

Digital media have an important role both in everyday life and in Culture and therefore a role to play in Education and Training, offering the opportunity to learn within both informal and formal approach and responding to the needs to improve and update an educational system in a Europe living a great generational change.
The project seeks to develop a pedagogical approach for Key/Transversal Competences acquisition, which is based on the use of media production and specifically on the production of Audio-visual Documentaries. By creating the methodological basis for this technical product, the project translates a specific technical process, into a learning tool.
Moreover, in order to satisfy the need to study the changing perception of European Identity at its various socio-geographical levels, the main theme underlining the project is “Imagining Europe in 2111”. The different partners will apply these principles within the boundaries of their respective countries and will exchange information and know-how in order to draw a comprehensive outline of the evolving European consciousness, projected into the future.


The objectives are:

  • To develop a new pedagogical tool applicable to different target groups and, what is more important, to both informal and formal learning contexts. The “Video-Doc Making” becomes a new learning model, through which the project develops an educational method designed to promote growth and enhancement of the person. Referring to social constructivism, the product must work as a cultural heritage. Each step of the process allows to acquire knowledge and to live constructive experiences.
  • To promote key competences acquisition, both for the partners and the target groups: each of the necessary steps for the Audiovisual product corresponds to a specific competence area. Besides, the complementary nature of the Partnership is functional to the development of a shared activity based on the exchange of information and know-how.
  • That applies also to the promotion of a new didactic path: the sharing of knowledge is the foundation of the model promoted by the project. Not a traditional vertical approach to teaching but a network environment breeding on the exchange.
  • Accordingly, the partners will provide training to different target groups in order to promote both ICT use and Key and Transversal competence acquisition throughout the whole lifelong learning domains.


Join the project by clicking here!

europe digital generation gap

Safer Internet Day (SID) 2012: Discover the digital world together... safely!

07 February 2012
evolving technologies Mobile generation gap

The Unconventional Learner - Interview with Dale J. Stephens

26 January 2012

A conventional interview with Dale J. Stephens, keynote speaker at EDEN's 2012 Annual Conference

by Eva Suba


The youngest keynote speaker of all times at EDEN conference, Dale J Stephens is the voice of the generation in and out of our universities/colleges now. With ideas painting an entirely different picture of learning system, Dale reflects on traditional school system with a non-traditional take. Read the full interview below and reflect on it via this site, or on one of our social groups on Facebook or Twitter.

The first time my virtual walk led me to the website of Dale’s UnCollege movement I blinked with surprise on the courage and positive approach the Manifesto's words radiate on what education should be. Hundreds of questions popped up in my head on this young man, so absolutely sure in his choice of abandoning institutional education's path and being proud of it. Where institutionalized educational paths guide carriers, he decided for his independent personal learning experience and shares it with everyone interested. After dropping out of college following long hesitation, he now considers himself an educational futurist and offers new visions on education not only to his generation thanks to his Thiel ’20 under 20’ Fellowship. Dale runs UnCollege with a small and enthusiastic team and is a Thiel Fellow, currently writing his first book Hacking Your Education. With ideas painting an entirely different picture of learning system, Dale J Stephens is the voice of the generation in and out of our universities/colleges now.

E.S.: Dale, you are in the age of a college student with the ambition to offer an alternative learning path. In the Manifesto of UnCollege, you depict yourself as an 'educational deviant'. What made you an 'Educational deviant'?

D.J.S.: I call myself an education deviant because I was able to take my education into my own hands. I didn't conform to the expectations of society--that one goes to university, get a degree, and then finds a job--instead I created my own path. I defined my own values. I set my own learning goals.

You can do the same -- what makes you an educational deviant is not quitting university. You can be an educational deviant within university if you're there for the right reasons. What makes you an educational deviant is knowing your end goal. If you want to be a doctor, it's what you've dreamed about since your were five, then by all means go to university. If, on the other hand, you want to be creative, start a company, write, make films, do archeology, or engage in any other non-licensed profession, then you should choose the most direct route to get there.

E.S.: What as the most shocking reaction to your ideas in the last year and what reactions inspired you the most lately?

D.J.S.: The most shocking reaction was from fellow students at Hendrix, the college I left in Arkansas. My fellow students took great offense at my choice to leave university. They didn't understand that my frustrations were with the system, not the university. I received many nasty notes from students who told me I was "shooting myself in the foot" and that I should "bloom where I was planted."

E.S.: This year's EDEN Conference focuses on the digital divide among generations. What advice would you give university professors, decision-makers how to deal with the new generation of learners (apart from UnCollege)?

J.S.: The generation of students that are in classes today grew up with technology. We are digital natives. For better or for worse, we see technology as an extension of ourselves. That means that technology must be integrated. You can't expect students to just sharpen pencils. They want to interaction on Twitter and Facebook.

This generation has grown up more empowered than ever before. We have the freedom to make choice, to consume, and to create. We have powers that previous generations didn't have. That means we think more highly of ourselves. And that means we must be respected. Teachers and administrators need to take into account the opinions of students -- because this generation is willing to speak out.

E.S.: New learning paths developed around learning methodologies thanks to the speedy technological development. What do you think is the best way for traditional educational institutions to prepare for the future?

D.J.S.: I think the best way for institutions to prepare for the future is to dismantle themselves. By that I don't mean that institutions will go away or disappear -- instead what I mean is that if schools want to survive in an era of free knowledge they must become unstructured. Professors should become detached from classes, libraries detached from laboratories. In this way, students can access institutions on a la carte basis. Institutions become more flexible and can support themselves through multiple means.

E.S.: 2012 is the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations which gives to certain extent the context of the conference. What is the echo of that slightly sentimental concept for your avantgarde approach?

D.J.S.: In a way my provocative approach in cross generational because it reminds adults of the idealism they once had in their youth. In other ways, it is not at all, for I believe the future lies with the young.

E.S.: Where do you see yourself years from now?

D.J.S.: Everything I do centers around unlocking human potential. Education is just one means of doing that. I don't know whether I'll work on education for the rest of my life, but I do know that everything I do will help empower people to live their lives to the fullest.

E.S.: You will be one of the keynote speakers in Porto. What are you looking forward to the most?

D.J.S.: I'm most looking forward to having the time to share my experiences as an unschooler. Most talks I give are quite short and I don't have must time to truly talk about student-directed learning. In Porto I will have the time to dissect my experiences and produce suggestions for ways schools can become student-directed.

Questions by Carla Carvalho, member of our 2012 Annual Conference Facebook Group:

C.C.: According to Confucius "Knowledge should be given to those who search for it." How would you comment this phrase?

D.J.S.: I think the converse of this statement is more important -- knowledge should not be forced upon anyone, yet this is exactly what schools do. I believe that learners should be given the opportunity to learn, but that no one should be forced to learn.

C. C.: With all the hype and industry interest for e-learning what do you think why isn't there more investment in this area?

D.J.S.: Investment in this area is heating up! Every week I have investors asking me which education technology startups are hot.

 Thank you, Dale for the interview!

What are your ideas of ‘unschooling’? Share your reflections on the EDEN 2012 Annual Conference’s Facebook group and on Twitter.

change in higher education university generation gap

List of keynote speakers at EDEN 2012

16 December 2011
generation gap adult

EDEN 2012 Annual Conference: Open Learning Generations

21 November 2011

The Annual Conference will approach the key questions of learning methodology and technology focusing on the “Open learning generations”, the contexts of socially significant target groups: junior and senior e-learners. We will explore their learning cultures, technology use patterns, and discuss new approaches in pedagogy and andragogy that respond to them.

The changing technology dimension: development of networking tools, new platforms and standards, and interoperability questions, will also be addressed from the perspective of different groups of users.

Pragmatic observers may state meanwhile that there is not that much novelty in new generations applying different tools and approaches to changing social and technology conditions. Thus there is space for interpretation by established distance learning professionals to consider the diverse practice and experience with young and adult learners in the open learning arena.

Conference Scope

Social and policy context

The European Year and movements for Active Ageing

The population in Europe is getting older. The EU Commission stressed in the Europe 2020 strategy the importance of healthy and active ageing. Values represented by mature citizens are becoming increasingly important in contemporary European societies. The year 2012 will be "The European Year of Active Ageing and the Solidarity Between Generations".

The European Year serves as framework for raising awareness, generating innovative approaches, disseminating good practice and encouraging stakeholders to participate. In a time of great challenges for Europe, all generations are called to act together and also to learn, to produce, share and preserve knowledge. In the digital knowledge society, technology and social media should not divide, rather they should foster cohesion amongst generations.

Generation Y

Another frequent question has been: how to deal with the new generation of learners who have grown up with the Internet and who are currently entering our schools and universities? The members of “Generation Y” or “Net Generation” are technology-immersed learners, easily adapting to technological developments, to the changing media and ubiquitous networks. They have developed critical thinking towards sourcing and judging information and even knowledge. Their expectations and behaviour are enormously different from the previous cohort.

Mature generation and e-learning

Promoting access of older persons to education and to information and communication technologies, and updating skills by providing access to lifelong learning, helps them to remain active and involved in the society. ICT enhanced learning has its place in the lifelong learning of the “silver age group”. Their electronic media use is more frequent and intensive. Media and the Internet makes it easier to reach them and they may gain ICT skills to maintain contact with relatives and friends.

There is a lot to do to avoid exclusion and marginalisation of older persons: lowering of access barriers to ICT enhanced learning; and remove cultural, technological, situational, educational obstacles. Provision of e-learning products and services including learning environments suitable for them is however a bottleneck. The few existing attempts have been predominantly "pilots" rather than being consolidated in character. There is poor knowledge only on the didactic level. It is important to care about the constructive social embedding of eLearning based on interests and ambitions.

Open learning for and amongst diverse generations

The movements aiming to enhance openness of educational resources encourage institutional policies which support innovative pedagogical models. Such models have been significant in empowering learners and their communities as co-producers in networked lifelong learning. Open resource attitude promotes democratic transformations in the information society. New media and technologies help to accelerate this process.

The development of an open climate and culture of learning enables educational institutions to better meet the demands of the public. Helping to spread educational resources as digitised content which accommodate different learning pathways, widening participation and promoting shared learning experiences between generations contributes to closing the technology gap.

technology enhanced learning environment methodology evolving technologies generation gap lifelong learning

Digital forståelse for den tredje alder: Opretholde identitet i en usikker verden

27 February 2009
Verdenen som vi lever i – den sene modernitets verden – karakteriseres af en dyb usikkerhed. En usikkerhed ikke blot om grundlaget for den sociale struktur men også om individuel identitet.
Digital teknologi tilbyder stærke redskaber til læring, til selvudfoldelse og til opbygning, opretholdelse og deling af identitet. Men for personer i den tredje alder udgør disse aspekter tilhørende den moderne verden en trussel for deres identitet. At kunne bruge teknologien korrekt i virkelige situationer er derfor vigtigt for enhver borger.

Teknologien har ikke ændret opfattelsen om hvad læring er, men den har åbnet flere muligheder for hvordan det kan gøres. Hvis vi ønsker at bemyndige ældre mennesker digitalt, bør vi fokusere på deres mål for digitalt brug, områderne hvor digital aktivitet er socialt meningsfyldte og bidrage direkte til udviklingen af mening og identitet.

Denne artikel præsenterer en model for digital forståelse på tre niveauer, som forstår at hvis vi er klar over de udfordringer ældre mennesker står overfor i det moderne samfund kan vi bedre overveje den rolle som digital forståelse og dens forbindelse til læring eventuelt kan have, i forbindelse med deres forlegenhed. På grund af de særlige usikkerheder der er vedrørende vore ældre menneskers rolle i samfundet kan digital forståelse være af stor værdi som et middel til social inddragelse og assertion. Ved at få forståelse for det digitale kan ældre borgere få hold på deres livs form i en æra med voksende usikkerhed. I et samfund hvor usikkerhed blandt generationer muligvis er større end den nogensinde har været, kan den også tilbyde en mulighed for en bro til forståelse på tværs af generationer.
digital social inclusion senior citizens identity third age generation gap