Technology Changes Quickly for Digital Immigrants

Mom, Dad, and my husband, getting our technology fix during an early morning breakfast.

Mom, Dad, and my husband, getting our technology fix during an early morning breakfast. I am taking the picture, though I was reading the newspaper on my iPhone a few minutes before I snapped the picture.

I like this post, Technology Moving Too Fast for a Girl Born in 1950, over at the Life in My Sixties blog. The author aptly captures many of the feelings and expectations about the fast-paced, always-changing world of technology. Our feelings magnify when our adult children casually take digital life for granted and our elder parents benefit from many new gadgets and digital services.

Lots of people are happy just keeping the old familiar gadgets that we know and love — for as long as possible. Others, myself included, thrill to new things, although sometimes we have difficulty making decisions because we can choose from so many new devices and opportunities. For us the issue is not what things we want, but more how much money we have to spend and time we have to learn. Did I mention it’s also about learning?

According to a wonderful article, Digital Natives-Digital Immigrants, written by Marc Prensky way back in 2001, we boomers are digital immigrants, living in a world that is extraordinarily different from the one we were born into. Even though it’s 12 years old, the article identifies a situation that we all recognize as it contrasts the lives of younger people who have lived with technology throughout their entire lives (digital natives) with their parents and grandparents who have adopted technology along the way (but who remember the non-technological “olden days.”)

Of course, those of us who are a part of the digital immigrant generation span a wide continuum of tech skill.

As readers of this blog know, my mother at 85 continues to  expeiment with new devices and uses my old iPhone. (Read My Mom Gets an iPhone, #1 and My Mom Gets an iPhone, #2.) My dad, who just celebrated is 90th birthday, blogs regularly on his iPad and pretty soon, since he has one of the very first models, we will need to purchase a new one for him to use. (Check out my iPad for Dad series.) I, naturally, am counting the days until I can purchase my  newest iPhone (My husband calls this the anticipatory possessive case).

What’s best about Prensky’s article is that it helps people of a certain age (read digital immigrants) understand a lot more about our changing lives, and it provides context for the fast-changing world what our kids take for granted.

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