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Validation Experiment Description

Web in the Hood - Senior Citizen Journalists: Community Eyes & Ears

Written by Martijn Hartog on donderdag 27 oktober 2011 15:05
(2 votes)
web in the hood - senior citizen journalists web in the hood - senior citizen journalists

Web in the Hood is a project that builds trust between inhabitants in a neighbourhood by promoting meeting and undertaking activities with other inhabitants. Inhabitants can use the Internet to support three functions: Inform, communicate and organize. Links-up helped to develop a group of elderly people at-risk to become amateur journalists and the “eyes and ears” of their local community.

“Web in the Hood: Senior citizen journalists: community eyes and ears” Pilot Summary




The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Name of the pilot

Web in the Hood – “senior citizen journalists: community eyes and ears”


(1) Professionalizing amateur journalists to publish in and combine social media resulting in (2) participation of a growing number of  loca l individuals and organizations and (3) involving them in communal learning and community development. Volunteers will be trained in creating content (stories and interviews), digital production (writing, pictures, sound and videos), online publishing (creating websites).

Location of the experiment

The Dutch Web in the Hood facility in Bargeres Emmen, where people gather to support their initiatives by using the internet.


Developing a group of people at risk as the “eyes and ears” of their community builds on three reasons.

- With 83% of the Dutch population online, many already have basic computers skills. From the questions asked at Web in the Hood facilities it is to be concluded there is a growing need for more knowledge how to use the internet for personal aims and daily activities like entering the labour market.

- The co-operation between citizens of different backgrounds is a major challenge; the welfare state is changing: fewer professionals ask for self organizing capacity of everyone depending on healthcare and social networks.

- Lifelong learning and teaching people how to see and hear experiences and opportunities to co-operate using digital means might be a fruitful way to strengthen ties in a neighbourhood.

Web 2.0 Technologies

The pilot uses a dedicated 2.0 CMS of Web in the Hood that allows individuals to create their own website simply with minimal 3 clicks. It involves also a screen in the Mall. Next to these local facilities the pilot involves making pages on Hyves and Facebook, a YouTube Channel, Flickr, and Twitter.

Target Group(s)

1. The core target group is adult people at risk (unemployed and wanting a job, elderly people who want to socialize, women who want to enter the labour market) interested in creating online publications that create reflection and learning in their community.

2. Supporting staff who wants to initiate and support newsgroups for content, production and distribution.

Organizational arrangements

Start: the project will start in April 2011

Finish: The links-up project will be evaluated in October 2011. Its activities will continue after that depending ion the motivation of the [participants, both professionals as well as voluntary.

Obstacles: there where no obstacles.

Support: the pilot will be supported by a journalist and the local community builder of Web in the Hood.


Validation tools are interviews with the participants, the staff and analysis of the resulting web products.

Link to the Links-Up web site

The project will be added as a Dutch validation experiment to the site.

Short list and other cases

Not necessary – we already extensively prepared the project with the people concerned.

Inclusion Features:

Citizens at risk will be activated to take part in society, be more connected to local subjects and educate their fellow citizens. The project calls upon their talents to strengthen their bonds with others in the neighbourhood.

Expected Outcomes:

After the project the participating seniors should be able to create high quality content, do the digital production and create online presence. The community should show some signs of learning in their reactions: being a news partner, reflection or taking a position on a specific subject. The staff should be trained in initiating such projects and a practical method should enable other professionals to do the same. More about the extra value of using Web 2.0 should be learned.


Does web 2.0 facilitate the social appropriation of technology and digital inclusion?

The core editorial board of 7 people were intensively involved in setting process of the pilot. Around 30 people where involved a extended media group, giving leads to the editorial board and informing the neighbourhood about the existence of the board. The editorial was responsible for the production and dissemination of news. No distinct reactions were found among participants. They all displayed improvement of self-confidence, expended network, improved writing and reading skills and made them more involved in the neighbourhood. The combination of several tools created a wide range of possibilities in the usage and search for the right tools to share/display the news, as well to edit / create the news items.

What are the outcomes and impacts associated with the use of Web 2.0 for inclusive learning?

The editorial board gained much ability to retrieve and obtain information using new web 2.0 tools, which creates a new way of dealing with the possibilities of the Internet and web 2.0 and retrieving knowledge using these tools.  Other gained benefits:

  • Acquisition of skills, confidence, empowerment, creating social networks;
  • News skills / competences learned and new activities engaged them;
  • Empowerment, soft skills, media and articles produced, new contacts established, change of quality of life and social skills;
  • New forms of learning;
  • New relationships with / between organisations in the neighbourhood as well as a new role in the neighbourhood in terms of media;
  • New processes of social learning (reflection) and a new way to insure a vital society.

Now people are really doing things differently. They communicate is easier, they are more comfortable in starting new relations. They also are more able to handle complex tasks and larger projects. Whole new groups are addressed and in order to promote the neighbourhood the local media team is contacted.

The people of the experiment where invited by the largest welfare organisation of Northern region of the Netherlands called Tinten to change ideas and knowledge concerning the strategic impact of these kind of initiatives / projects for their organisation. Since then Tinten announced starting 15 new ICT projects in 2012

What can be learned from the use of Web 2.0 to support inclusive learning?

During the pilot there was a malfunction in the software used to create websites. But it was solved rather quickly. The editorial board was highly motivated and enthusiast at the start of the pilot, but in practice they needed much guidance, which was no problem due to the presence of a journalist professional. Implementing a neighbourhood editorial board as a structural catalyst for change, inspire new forms of cooperation and a new didactical approach can accomplish new forms of learning. New relationships with / between organisations in the neighbourhood as well as a new role in the neighbourhood in terms of media have been established. Above all the quality of life and the social inclusion in the neighbourhood has been increased and the threshold for entering the labour market has been lowered.

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