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Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education

Yıl 2001 , Cilt 2 , Sayı 2

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Children tutoring seniors at internet skills: an experiment conducted at one israeli elementary school

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The Internet which connects about 200 million people and millions of pages, voice , sound, image and video files has become a most powerful tool in the hands of those who know how to navigate it .The opportunity to use this powerful tool exists and is open to most strata of the population, regardless of the limitations of age, education, etc. Though the opportunity exists what actually happens is that the gap between Internet surfers and those who are not knowledgeable in Internet skills, is ever growing. The gap is widening between youngsters, the primary Internet user population, and adults and mostly seniors,who are not skilled at using a computer or the Internet. In the new Hi-Tech world, where children speak the new language of the Internet as their mother tongue, it would be most fitting to put their mastery to good use and train them to teach this new language to Senior Citizens, those unacquainted with the language of the Internet. This latter age group might find much interest and relevant, useful information via the net; they can study on-line, meet new people via the Internet, find useful information, participate in on-line interest groups, and contribute from their experience and knowledge and most importantly feel connected. An experiment was conducted in one elementary school in Israel; the Alon School in 1999, where ten Seniors were tutored by ten children aged 11-14. In the l’ouverture school in Wichita, Kansas, Anna is teaching Internet skills to six adults. Anna is 9 years old, she is in 3rd grade. Anna and her classmates taught Internet skills to 60 adults, in one year. (1)

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