I am a digital immigrant and hate it. My fingers do not fly across a keyboard or operate with smooth finesse on a smart phone. I often hit the wrong button and wonder what the __ am I doing. As technology gets smaller & faster, it is time for me to make a confession to myself. Yes, I am an immigrant. Oye. That was tough.
The label “digital immigrant” and “digital native” have been coined for quite some time (Prensky, 2001), but I never read the article, and my brain recoiled at the thought. In fact, I didn’t even use those words in my graduate classes. (They were akin to the F word coming out of my mouth). I heard the words in so many talks & lectures with the attribute to Prensky’s brilliance, that I knew the concept without reading. The concept was intuitive was it not!? Why did I not want to admit it?
I felt less than and not as good as…. All those comparisons that also carry value judgments.
Well, now, it is becoming more and more obvious that I am a digital immigrant, which means that my brain will never be wired like that of the fast-moving, digital-grooving youngsters. Sigh. Is there hope for me – for us immigrants? The slower paced ones?
Being an eternal optimist – idealist- with a belief that it takes most to make the world a better place, I am forcing myself to brain shift — leaping out of this dark thought, since the wallowing gets me nowhere.
Brain SHIFT. Ready. Go! Here is a list of the ways digital immigrants can use our gifts to inspire and empower wisely the digital natives:
- Demonstrate how to slow down
- Treasure relationships & face-to-face communication
- Reflect and think before acting – even with digital communication
- Go outside and play, go on a good hike
- Value ideas different from your own
- Demonstrate how to learn and be outdated with grace, but keep growing & accepting change.
We digital immigrants have a lot to share. But, our sharing is best done by example, by embracing the change with wisdom, understanding and questioning. Someday, the natives will be out-of-date. Then, the digital natives will need to share their wisdom with the digital — what will they be called!?