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Welcome to the Chair of Information Systems, esp. IT for the Aging Society

The Chair of Information Systems, esp. IT for the Aging Society (Prof. Dr. Claudia Müller) researches and teaches at the interface of demographic and digital change. The focus is on the practice-based and participatory design of socio-technical infrastructures and digital solutions in the field of “health & aging”. The objectives include maintaining and increasing the social participation of older and vulnerable people, their mobility and independence, as well as maintaining or improving their well-being, health and quality of life at home.

“Aging society” further points to intergenerational concepts of living well and the diversity of individual needs and desires.

Since new technologies provide potential for improvements of living and working in an ageing society, a sound understanding of everyday life and lifeworld contexts of older women and men and appropriation and use potentials of modern media is indispensable.

Within the framework of  Siegen University’s real-lab approach “Praxlabs” (www.praxlabs.de), which is based on a practice-based and participatory research paradigm, technology design and appropriation research can take place in a multi-perspective approach. This encompasses understanding social practices in the natural environment, participatory design of innovative IT artifacts as well as exploring and understanding the transformative nature of appropriation of IT artifacts in practice.

For participatory IT design with target group representatives in the field of “Healty Ageing” (older adults, caregivers, relatives, consultants, service providers, etc.), special co-creation methods are needed to build a shared design space between all participants. In the first step and permanently throughout the project, this includes introducing non-tech-savvy participants to possible options for using IT. For this purpose, we use a selection of adapted co-creation methods based on constructivist teaching/learning concepts. Social and experiential learning form the foundation for the development of skills, competencies, but also positive attitudes towards new technology – which then in turn form the basis for participatory design.

Learning and design processes in the Praxlab have a high degree of lifeworld relevance, as the researchers enter the target groups’ lifeworlds with their work. Since technology development and appropriation take place in discourses and fields of tension between micro and macro levels, other relevant stakeholders are integrated into the Praxlabs approach in addition to the primary target group: Images of age and aging not only contour the willingness, acceptance, and access to (learning about) and using new technologies among older people or those who are not familiar with technology; ideas, attitudes, and interests in the industrial and service sectors as well as at the policy level also contribute to the current discourse on healthy aging, technology support, and learning.