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Back to the future: Who cares about the NetGen if mobile technology can help the Matures? mLearn Conference 2011 Beijing CJ van Staden Liza Kriek Tony.

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Presentation on theme: "Back to the future: Who cares about the NetGen if mobile technology can help the Matures? mLearn Conference 2011 Beijing CJ van Staden Liza Kriek Tony."— Presentation transcript:

1 Back to the future: Who cares about the NetGen if mobile technology can help the Matures? mLearn Conference 2011 Beijing CJ van Staden Liza Kriek Tony Tin

2 Presentation layout  Introduction  Research questions  Who is the mature generation?  Mobile Technology  Research methodology  Research findings  Conclusion

3 Introduction  The aim of the research was to determine the needs of elderly people  How these needs could be addressed thru mobile technology  Identify short comings and challenges  Modules used to determine behaviour of young adults cannot be generalised without further investigation to elderly people (Wilkowska & Ziefle, 2009 &Goodman et al., 2003)  The life cycle of mobile phone technology is not well understood by elderly people (Carrol et al., 2003)

4 Introduction  Many elderly people do not use their mobile phone to its fullest potential or they even reject it (Abascal and Civit, 2000)  Rejection of mobile technology is often the result of low quality interface design or the people lack training and experience  Guidelines to include the mature generation in the development of technologies is needed(Eisma et al, 2003)  Bad designs handicap all users not just disabled (Thimbleby, 1995)

5 Introduction  A growing need to support elderly people in imaginative and innovative ways –  design,  development and  use of mobile technology applications  Goodman et al. (2003) conclude that generally available designs and guidelines, often based on studies of younger users, may well not be transferable to applications intended for elderly people

6 Research Questions  To what extent do elderly people in South Africa perceive mobile technology as useful?  To what extent can the research recommend innovative ways of designing and developing mobile technology devices that are able to fulfil the needs of elderly people in a South African context?

7 Who is the mature generation?  Mature Generation is defined by birth dates between 1925 and 1945 – age  The Baby Boomers generation is defined by birth dates between 1946 and 1964 – age 47 and 65  The NetGen generation with birth dates between 1982 and 1991 – age 20 to 29 (Oblinger, D.G. & Oblinger, 2005)  The researchers used age group including people of ages 52 and over because they will be the next generation of “younger” seniors to use the newly designed improved mobile technology

8 Mobile Technology  The usefulness of common mobile technology, such as mobile phones, handheld computers and digital cameras, stems from their accessibility and portability allowing user access to technologies while on the move (Goodman et al., 2003)  The advancement, availability and connectivity of technology all contribute to an increase of its scope and potential  The penetration of mobile technologies within the population of South Africa is estimated at 83% (Integrat, 2008)

9 Mobile Technology  Mobile technology is ideal for providing support in a variety of mobile activities and for a variety of people  Activities include mobile learning possibilities, gaining information about news items, family matters, social matters, transport, holiday trips, medication - and in general improve “anytime, anywhere” communication

10  Needs and expectations between disabled and generic users are similar in that each group expects the following from mobile communication services:  Fully reliable communication  Improved service  Safety and quality of life (Abascal & Civit, 2000)  Barriers hat some elderly people might experience:  Ergonomic limitations of the handsets  Certain sectors of the population are not able to use systems normally designed for all Mobile Technology

11  Products, applications and services should be designed in such a way that they are open to possible adaptations for specific users’ needs  A further area that needs attention is the learning mechanism (principles) that exist in elderly people  Research pointed out some of the needs that were identified through the data collection and analysis Mobile Technology

12 Research Methodology  Research aim:  To establish the extent to which elderly people in South Africa perceive mobile technology as useful  To what extent the research can recommend innovative ways of designing and developing mobile technology devices that will fulfil the needs of elderly people in a South African context  Sampling:  The research design is mainly qualitative and involves a study with 41 participants aged 52 to 88  The sample group included elderly people from old age homes, retirement villages, and some are still working

13 Research Methodology  Data collection – a questionnaire was used to collect information regarding the participant’s:  general information,  needs,  interests,  whether he/she owns a phone,  the purpose of the phone,  whether the participant uses the internet and for what reasons and  the perceived usefulness of mobile phones and the internet.

14 Research Methodology  Type of questions used  Open-ended,  guided questions  Collected data was then captured in a database which was used to derive conclusions  Data analysis:  quantitative and qualitative analysis was used  Complete anonymity has been ensured – neither the participants nor the field workers can be identified in the reports

15 Research Methodology  The analysis was guided by:  creating the context of the elderly people investigated;  deriving information about the current adoption and usage of mobile technologies;  attempting to understand the target group’s needs and interests and  finally, by analysing their perceived usefulness of mobile technology

16 Research Findings  The youngest respondent’s age was 52 and the eldest 88.  The average age was 70  85% of the participants own mobile phones  70% of those who own phones – own a Nokia  Reasons why elderly do not own a phone:  Tone deaf at certain levels, have one on loan from a daughter, used only in travelling  Not interested, have a land line  Use husband’s mobile phone or visa versa  No interest

17 Research Findings  50% of those who do not own a mobile phone, said they think it would be easy to use one  while 79% of those who own a mobile phone find it easy to use – adapting to technology  46% have access to internet  27% do not have access to internet – would like access  Reasons why people do not have internet:  No computer  No interest or no need for internet

18 Research Findings UsePercentage Emergencies18% Calls79% sms27% Internet9% Banking3% MMS3% Diary3% Meetings3% Mapping3% Photos3% Videos3%

19 Research Findings  People who are using internet us it for:  Social:  Entertainment, skype, ccommunicating with friends far away, Facebook,  Information:  travel planning, reservations, research  Business:  , business matters, bookkeeping, internet banking,  Hobbies:  Sport, work, news, videos, chat games

20 Research Findings  People who are NOT using internet want to us it for:  Information:  General, historical, vacations, research  Interest:  health, medication, sport  Hobbies:  Flags, general knowledge

21 Research Findings Do you find it easy to use the internet?Percentage I still struggle to remember where to go and what to do but I am still learning 5% Yes, when taught how to use it5% Yes85% No5% Interests Average Percentage Interests Average Percentage Movies48.8%Music51.25% Nature37.8%Cooking23.2% News78.05%Travel41.45% Sport54.85%Anything19.5% Stories31.7%

22 Research Findings  To what extent do elderly people in South Africa perceive mobile technology as useful? According to the researchers’ results, elderly mobile technology users are divided into 15% who do not own a mobile phone versus the 85% who do. Half of the elderly people who do not own a mobile phone perceive it to be useful, while the remainder do not. At least 79% of the elderly people who own a phone find it easy to use. The majority of elderly people use their mobile phones only for calls, sms messages and emergencies. According to the researchers’ results, 46% of elderly people access the internet and find it very useful for a number of reasons as listed above. Some of the remaining 54% who do not have internet express a number of needs and interests they would like to access should they have internet. Some of the reasons for not having access include affordability, no computers, no need or no interest.

23 Research Findings  To what extent can the research recommend innovative ways of designing and developing mobile technology devices that are able to fulfil the needs of elderly people in a South African context? According to the researchers’ results it is recommended that when designing and developing mobile technology applications, attention should be paid Enlarging the size of the screens and visibility of content, given the fact that 34% (14 participants) experience eyesight problems; Improving the decibel frequency of sound as 20% of the participants experience hearing problems; Designing GPS applications for mobile technology to accommodate eyesight, memory and hearing problems. A large percentage of the participants (88%) own a car and 90% are still fit to drive – they are therefore able to travel around and might find such applications useful; Developing mobile technologies for elderly people which should focus on expressed needs such as gardening, needlework, baking, cooking, travelling, sports and news

24 Research Findings  Based on our results the researchers therefore conclude that although elderly people in South Africa have adopted mobile technology, they have not explored the full capacity and capabilities of this technology.  Therefore more attention needs to be paid to raise awareness among elderly people to adopt mobile technology more fully.  There is a need for mobile technology devices to be designed for elderly people, which will be useful and which they will be able to be use

25 Conclusion The researchers explored the needs of elderly people in South Africa and their use of mobile phone technology in an attempt to better understand this user group’s perceptions towards technology. It has been established that there is a need for access to more information by the elderly through the use of technology given the fact that they are still mobile and need the information when travelling. Mobile technology might be more accessible than the stationary type of technologies such as personal computers. It might also improve the autonomy and self-confidence of elderly people. Our findings suggest a correlation between the variables of age and whether these participants own a phone; however, the possible correlation between how the phone is used and their needs is interesting and indicates a need for further research. A similar study is being conducted in Canada so the researchers will be able - at a later stage - to compare the findings of this paper with studies based on elderly users outside South Africa. Mobile technology can improve the quality of life for elderly people, but only if the design, interface and development of such devices are perceived and experienced by elderly people as useful and usable

26 Canadian Seniors and E-Readers Canadian seniors (aged 55+) were provided with an Amazon Kindle for 4-weeks, a book of THEIR choice, a newspaper subscription, and a training session. Ongoing technical support was provided for the length of this project (by , phone or in person) 56 responses in total for the final questionnaire session (so far) 55/56 had never read an e-book before

27 Testing Group 68% had never used a mobile device in the past (including: smart phone, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Blackberry) 61% usually access their internet at home 16% access at both home and work, 9% do not access the internet

28 Increase Access? 73% either Agree or Strongly Agree that E-readers will increase access to reading materials. Sample comments – “Ideal for someone with restricted mobility/ access to other resources” – “With living in a small town, it's difficult to get to a book store on a regular basis, and when ordering online, it takes time before you receive the book. However, with an e-reader you have immediate access to books or other reading materials.” – “Great for anyone who needs to have a number of books readily accessible, e.g. Students. The social network functions may be interesting, e.g. comparing comments on books read, etc.”

29 General Comments Positives “Increased font size, very useful” Small, light, portable Auto-bookmarking (“my bookmarks always fall out of my paperbacks”) Good for travel “I like not getting ink from newspapers on my fingers” “Easy on my eyes” “Loved the Search function” Concerns Screen did not light up Page numbers? “I don’t like seeing a percentage, I want to know the number of pages in my book!” “I missed holding a book” “I wanted to flip pages” Colour pictures? “black on black buttons, I couldn’t see what to push” “I was scared to use it, I didn’t want to break it!”


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