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Validation Experiment Description

Birncast: Producing Podcasts & Weblogs with Seniors

Written by Sandra Schaffert on donderdag 27 oktober 2011 15:15
(3 votes)

"Birncast" in short

The Austrian Partner "Salzburg Research" found a project with seniors in a local senior centre, where elderly people already meet regularly and learn together in a "computer club" and a "narrator club". The Links-up project brings added value in to the centre in the area of communication and inclusion, as the focus of the implementation project lies in the production of podcasts and the distribution via a newly developed website. The experiment was be made in collaboration with Hilfswerk Salzburg, which is an association for online activities for elderly people, and in cooperation with the Seniorclub "Zentrum Walser Birnbaum", a project where people meet, spend their spare time, work and learn together. The obvious results are mainly the new homepage of the centre and the podcasts there.

An overview about the project and its results is additionally available as slides at slideshare:



Extended summary


Salzburg Research Forschungsgesellschaft m.b.H.

Name of the pilot

Zentrum Walser Birnbaum (ZWB): Producing Podcasts and Weblogs with Seniors


Originally implementation of a podcasting workshop series, where elderly people tell their story and publish those stories on the internet. Additionally, the participants will be encouraged to get in contact with other people over the internet via Weblog.

Location of the experiment

Seniorclub 50+ in Salzburg, an institution where people aged 50 and over meet in their spare time, go to workshops, eat together and talk.

The Club has already workshops and working groups (clubs), which have been addressed and included in the project during the pilot:

  • The narrators club: Once a month, people meet and “tell their stories”. Moderated by a caretaker, people tell stories about their lives, about their background or about their view on things.
  • The Computer club: Once a week (each Thursday), people meet and work together on computer and internet related projects. They define their topics themselves and teach each other (peer-learning).

Furthermore the Hilfswerk Salzburg ( – the largest organisation providing social & health care services, child care and support for families in Austria – have been addressed in order to communicate the projects ideas and results as well as to serve as another dissemination platform for the podcasts and the ZWB-Website.


The inclusion of elderly people in the society is an upcoming issue: More and more people of age are familiar with computer and Internet and due to their lack of mobility, the Internet provides a perfect platform for communication and co-operation. Podcasting and Weblogs are a good way of expressing one self and to share personal stories and events with the direct and virtual community.

Web 2.0 Technologies

We used standard computer, a microphone and the free software “audacity” ( For publication of the podcasts in the Internet, we used at the beginning the free platform where we set up a free account. After a short while the workshop series founds the general approval of the whole ZWB and their cooperation partner Hilfswerk Salzburg (

Then, something funny happened: The participants wanted more!! "Can we do blogs as well? What about a homepage? Can we document our activities ourselves?"

So (as all those questions matched with the Links-Up idea), we expanded our activities: We set up a website, held more workshops, dealing with all different sorts of Web 2.0 activities and included all activities, that are currently going on in the centre.

We decided to launch the website with Wordpress, an open source blog tool and publishing platform:

Target Group(s)

On the one hand elderly people, 50+, who are willing to get in contact with peers and who want to experiment with radio-like technology. Focusing on different topics (story telling, audio recording, editing, publication,... ) we will address different target groups within the Seniorclub in order to make sure that the project can be continued without external guidance.

On the other hand, we focus also on the caregivers (management of the ZWB) who are going to continue the project. For doing so, we include them in the development process and provide them with material, background information and tutorials on how to produce and publish podcasting in the Internet.

Indirect target groups are all citizen of the commune Wals as well as the German speaking audience of the Internet.

Organizational arrangements

Start: The Pilot started on January 27th with the first introduction. This introduction took place after the next narrators café in order to address the predestinated target group – the story tellers.

After this, the workshop series (13 workshops) took place every two weeks, including two parallel workshops: Technology (e.g. recording, editing, publishing) and narrators (e.g. story telling, interview techniques, moderation)

Support: Irregularly support via telephone and e-mail. After the workshops series their have been some short meetings directly in the ZWB to answer open questions of the former participants.

Finish: The final workshop and presentation of results were originally planned for April 28th at the narrator’s café. Due to the great interest and success the workshop series was extended for one month and the final event was planned for May 26th 2011 from 2pm – 5pm. For the final event the local and regional representatives from press, radio and television stations have been invited to a press conference on the 26th of May from 10am – 11am.

The results are:

Obstacles: There have been no obstacles during the pilot. Altogether six participants attended the workshop series. They belong to the core group and have already agreed …

  • to take care of and to further contribute on the new homepage,
  • to invite further members of the Computer club and other interested seniors in the ZWB to make contributions and
  • to support the center manager of ZWB in hosting the new web appearance.

Furthermore, once a month an editorial meeting is planned where probably all six workshop participants and the two center manager will discuss new topics and the responsibility for topics for the homepage.


For the validation we focused on interviews and focus group interviews

Link to the Links-up website

See homepage of ZWB:

Inclusion Features

Inclusion of elderly people by providing a communication platform through podcasting, weblog and more; intergenerational dialogue ( and ); to support the communication process of the commune of Wals/Salzburg.

Expected Outcomes

Eldery people should be able to a) express themselves and b) to record, edit and publish their stories. Additionally, the communication about the podcasts and weblog should give added value to the project by including the seniors in online communities. The workshops supported different soft skills of the workshop participants like individual responsibility, self-confidence, acceptance, motivation, ability to work in a team, cooperation).


Country Austria

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