Living in a technical world is never easy, certainly not for everyone, I’m proud to be classed as Generation X 60’s-80’s (also known as Gen X) but I don’t think I am happy with the term digital immigrant that (depending on what source you read – and they do conflict) is somebody who has not grown up with tech from the start. I grew up with the tech around at the time (admittedly we were a little late with the VCR when I was growing up) and have evolved along with it and certainly would class myself as a Digital Native.
Digital natives is normally reserved for Generation Y 80’s – late 90’s (also known as Gen Y, Millennials, Millenial Generation), what happens when the tech changes yet again – do they become immigrants? Even my own children (under the age of 5) being of the Generation Z late 90’s – present (also known as Gen Z, post-millennials, iGen) are adept at tablets, and can turn on my iPhone music when I leave my Pebble watch laying around. I recently heard the term Digital DNA as being applied their generation.
I think each generation will move through these terms as they become separated from tech in their own lives as we age gracefully (or disgracefully). Despite all this techno babble it’s easy to dismiss those that do not fall into any of these terms. There are those living abroad that do-not and will-not embrace the local language, let alone the dialect. The same goes for the technophobics, for whatever reason be it (exposure, social-economic reasons or just a lack of interest) for their disengagement. We should not assume that all those in-front of us use social networking (such as Twitter), tablets and apps.
But we do have a responsibility to support or encourage through the use of traditional activities, we have all used post-it notes at some point, how about asking your participants to make comments, suggestions, etc. but within 140 characters like Twitter. Or using newer, less traditional methods such as eMentors – Learners that can support the less technical, be it tutor or another learner!