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SIAE Awards 2007
Dr Zora Tavčar from Villa Opicina near Trieste

SIAE awards for learning and knowledge promotion 2007

Awards to groups for outstanding achievements in lifelong learning 

Level 8 computing study group, University of the Third Age Murska Sobota

Proposers: University of the Third Age Murska Sobota and Murska Sobota Adult Education Centre


 "I don't want to die in ignorance, that's why I learn." (Emerik Zver MA, group animator)

Active inclusion in their environment with the help of learning, and connection to the world via information and communications technology (ICT), are the basic distinctive features of the level 8 computing study group, to whom Emerik Zver MA gives his own knowledge and who he encourages to independently discover computing knowledge. This study group has operated at the University of the Third Age in Murska Sobota with almost the same members for nine years. It began so to speak from nothing, with initially cautious learning about new media; now these grandfathers and grandmothers are a match for their grandchildren. Some group members have family scattered around the world, and so electronic mail with video and audio links provides a bridge to their relatives. This group is also unusual in that it is one of the few adult learners' groups dominated by men, and in that the educational level of participants is very high. With the help of the Internet and by studying literature, the general outlook of members has also expanded, and their special knowledge has long since surpassed basic computer skills. When we visited them, we saw a videoconference arranged so that members spending the summer abroad could also take part in the conversation. Over eight years, study group members have learned to use various computer tools: they can design and edit photographic, audio and video materials. They have studied electronic commerce and the like. Group members continually combine study methods in the form of courses with independent work. At first, self-directed learning involved the use of the computer equipment of the open learning centre, but they now all have home computers. Meetings in the form of courses are increasingly being replaced by modern forms of learning adopted from study circles, although the role of expert animator, who instils in participants a sense of ability and opens up new horizons to them, remains invaluable. Through their activities and persistence, the group has fostered an interest in learning computing among the elderly all over Pomurje. In Murska Sobota alone, they have been followed by 26 new groups, although for most of them a lower level of difficulty is sufficient. 

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