Long gone are the days that we can rationalize our technological skills, or lack thereof, as a result of being either a digital native or digital immigrant. Some generalize Millennials as constantly navigating new forms of technology with ease and without fear. Some also may generalize Baby boomers as needing more time to learn new pieces of technology and often struggling as they endeavour to learn it. These generalizations have led us to the terms digital native and digital immigrant; however, these labels are no longer relevant.
Our schools and workplaces are cross-generational. The key to digital aptitude does not lie in the decade in which people are born but is rather the ability to 1) learn from each other and, 2) explore and investigate without fear. To generate efficiency and effective use of technology across generations, we must first promote a growth mindset. Whether native or immigrant, all these terms have ever done is hold us back.
To lead us forward, I propose we create Cross-Generational Learning Communities (CGLCs) to foster technical skill and knowledge development. These CGLCs would develop learning sessions rotationally led by members of varying generations. Older generations could share their knowledge and experience related to technological change over time and younger generations could share their knowledge and skills related to current technology. Simultaneously, the CGLCs would offer space, resources, and the technological infrastructure required to spur understanding and innovation. By tapping into the experiential wisdom of all generations, we can not only promote greater technological fluency but also enable greater collaboration. CGLC would promote a beginner’s and growth mindset while facilitating technological mastery at any age.
We are all digital learners.