Conceptual Frameworks and Practical Applications to Connect Generations in the Technoscape


  • Matthew Kaplan The Pennsylvania State University
  • Mariano Sánchez University of Granada (Spain)
  • Leah Bradley Heyman Interages Center, Jewish Council for the Aging



aging, technology, intergenerational programs, intergenerational relationships, intergenerational communication


There are many ways to frame and use technology so it functions as a pathway to intergenerational engagement.  The ever evolving technoscape is filled with powerful technological tools and resources that help people connect, communicate, build relationships, and take collective action across generations.  This technology can be life-altering, especially for isolated seniors and families navigating long distance relationships.  However, at the center of the intervention equation is not the technology itself, but the quest for tapping into the relationship-enhancing potential of the technology. To explore this potential, an international survey was conducted with 46 intergenerational programs that reflect innovation and intensive uses of technology. Results demonstrate that important strides are being made in utilizing new technology for effectively connecting generations and positively affecting aging adults’ lives.

Author Biographies

Matthew Kaplan, The Pennsylvania State University

Professor of Intergenerational Programs and Aging - in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

Mariano Sánchez, University of Granada (Spain)

Associate Professor, Sociology Department
University of Granada (Spain)

Leah Bradley, Heyman Interages Center, Jewish Council for the Aging

Assistant Director, Heyman Interages Center, Jewish Council for the Aging, in Rockville, MD (USA) 


AARP. Connecting Generations. [A report of selected findings from a survey and focus groups conducted by Microsoft and AARP.] February. Washington, D.C.: AARP. 2012. Accessed June 25, 2015.

Armstrong, Natasha “Historypin: Bringing Generations Together Around a Communal History of Time and Place.” Journal of Intergenerational Relationships10, no.3 (2012): 294-298. doi: 10.1080/15350770.2012.697412

Author. 2015.

Gregorio Convertino, Umer Farooq, and Mary B. Rosson, “The Firekeepers: Aging Considered As a Resource,” Universal Access in the Information Society 11 [2011]: 7-15. doi:10.1007/s10209-011-0229-9.

CLD Standards for Scotland. Mapping the Future: An Intergenerational Project. Community Learning Development, Standards Council for Scotland. N.D. Accessed June 25, 2015.

Stephanie Clifford. “Online, a reason to keep going.” New York Times, June/July 2, 2009, D5.

Mats Eriksson, Veli-Pekka Niitamo, and Seija Kulki. State-of-the-art in Utilizing Living Labs Approach to User-centric ICT Innovation – a European Approach, Centre for Distance-spanning Technology at Luleå University of Technology. 2005. Accessed June 25, 2015. .

Helen R. Feist, Kelly Parker, and Graeme Hugo (2012). “Older and Online: Enhancing Social Connections in Australian Rural Places,” The Journal of Community Informatics, 8 (1) [2012]. Accessed June 25, 2015.

Cristina Figuer Ramirez, Sara Malo Cerrato, and Irma Bertran Camats. Cambios en las relaciones y satisfacciones intergeneracionales asociados al uso de las TICs. [Intergenerational relations, changes, and satisfaction associated with ICT use] Intervención Psicosocial, 19 (1) [2010]: 27-39. doi: 10.5093/in2010v19n1a4.

Dave Harley and Geraldine Fitzpatrick, “Creating a Conversational Context Through Video Blogging: A Case Study of Geriatric 127,” Computers in Human Behavior 25 [2009]: 679-689. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2008.08.011.

Dave Harley, Frank Vetere, Geraldine Fitzpatrick, and Sri Kurniawan, “Intergenerational Context As an Emphasis for Design.” Universal Access in the Information Society 11 [2012]: 1-5. doi:10.1007/s10209-011-0228-x.

Nancy Henkin, Coritta Brown, and Sally Liederman, . Intergenerational Community Building: Lessons Learned. Philadelphia, PA: The Intergenerational Center, Temple University. 2012. Accessed June 25, 2015.

Annabel D. Knight. “Funding Intergenerational Initiatives to Strengthen Local Communities,” Quality in Ageing and Older Adults, 13 (4) [2012]: 307-316.

Abigail R. Lawrence-Jacobson and MatthewKaplan “The Applicability of Empowerment Theory to Intergenerational Programming,” Japan Journal of Intergenerational Studies 1 (1) [2011]: 7-17.

Gustavo S. Mesch "Family Characteristics and Intergenerational Conflicts over the Internet." Information, Communication & Society 9 (4) [2006]: 473-495. doi:10.1080/13691180600858705.

Ralph Schneider, Luca Tosolini, Miahi Iacob, and Gilberto Collinassi, Grandparents and Grandchildren: Handbook for Tutors. 2012. Accessed June 25, 2015,

Neil Selwyn, Stephen Gorard, John Furlong, and Louise Madden, “Older Adults' Use of Information and Communications Technology in Everyday Life.” Ageing & Society 23 [2003]: 561-582. doi:10.1017/S0144686X03001302..

Anna Tarrant, “(Grand)paternal Care Practices and Affective Intergenerational Encounters using Information Communication Technologies,” in Intergenerational Spaces 2015, edited by Robert Vanderbeck and Nancy Worth, 286-299. London, UK: Routledge, 2015.

Third, Amanda, Richardson, Ingrid, Collin, Phillipa, Rahilly, Kitty & Bolzan, Natalie. Intergenerational Attitudes Towards Social Networking and Cybersafety: A Living Lab. Melbourne: Cooperative Research Centre for Young People, Technology and Wellbeing. 2011.