SilverCoders: a new methological approach based on coding to reduce the digital divide

SilverCoders brings together 6 European countries to develop an innovative programme that aims to improve the digital skills/literacy of +55 adult learners by enhancing coding skills

According to Human Capital and Digital Skills in the Digital Economy and Society Index, 42% of European citizens lack basic digital skills. 37% of the workforce – farmers, bankers, and factory workers alike – also lack adequate digital skills, despite the growing need for such skills in all jobs.

Closing the digital divide is a social issue that needs to be addressed through a series of measure to raise awareness of the importance of the e-literacy for employability, competitiveness and participation in society.

There is no doubt that society is facing additional vulnerabilities at this time: the COVID-19 outbreak has not only threatened our lives, it has also affected social networks, access to services, jobs and our well-being. In addition, theoverwhelming global crisis has demonstrated the urgent need to rethink education and invest in the workforce.

Currently, more than 90% of professional occupations require digital skills, including programming, while there is also a shortage of qualified staff.

Within this frame of reference, Silvercoders project responds to the call for action to boost sustainable economic growth through the development of human capital development, by providing groups that are typically less confident in their digital skills, such as adults over 55, with the necessary expertise to adapt their functions to the digital and online world.

Our approach is based on coding, which is treated as a methodology that can help to improve problem solving, teamwork and analytical thinking, as well as enhance creativity, teach people to cooperate across physical and geographical boundaries and to communicate in a universal language (DG Connect, 2020).

Silvercoders project brings together a strategic partnership of 6 organisations from 6 Erasmus+ countries namely Sweden, Portugal, Romania, Italy, Spain and Greece to promote the development of digital skills among older adults, and support this age group, (one of the most affected) with a set of tools to make it more adaptable, resilient, and capable of surviving and thriving in the current situation and also in possible future challenges.

The partnership will work together to produce:

  • A methodological learning framework for building coding skills in adults over 55, based on a “low entry high ceiling approach”, with low knowledge requirements at the beginning and more complex problem-solving challenges for more advanced learners.
  • A proof-of-concept pilot testfor building coding skills in adults over 55;
  • Instructional support contentin the form of best practice videos, video-lectures and user guides that will facilitate the integration of the proposed methodologies into existing adult training organisations.

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