Corporate Life, marketing yourself, skill gaps

Are you a digital native or digital immigrant?

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Are you a digital native or digital immigrant?

A digital native are those that are born into the digital culture where as a digital immigrant is someone who comes from the analogue age and must migrate across.

The term digital native was coined by education consultant [Prensky] in his 2001 article ‘Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants’, in which he relates to the decline in American education to educators’ failure to understand the needs of modern students (source: Wikipedia).

We live in a world where technological innovation can come and go so quickly we may not even notice. I saw a high-end tablet from a major pc vendor yesterday for $97 – clearly they are exiting this market. If companies do not look far ahead, by the time they get through R&D their product may be obsolete.

When considering future business design and innovation, one of the main reasons why the use of approaches like Design Thinking is so relevant is that it allows people, from various walks of life, to think far afield in an unfettered way as they look to the future and the desired state.

I was amazed that when watching Star Wars recently, remember 1977, they were beaming data, using holograms, using advanced robotics and more. How far sighted was George Lucas!

A digital native accepts the technology and engages with it whilst a digital immigrant faces a learning hurdle each time. I think of my parents’ generation when I think of digital immigrants but there are still plenty of people in Gen-X whom are firmly stuck in the digital immigration queue.

There is also the emergence of digital poverty, this draws new lines as in places like India where the average wage may be $2 a day there is massive growth in mobile phones and innovation centres. The new digital poor may come from cities or towns in what have been middle class areas. Watching my eldest son engage with online math and english programs on his $300 laptop recently reminded me there are plenty of children without access who may be left behind.

If I can speak for Gen-X’ers I would say we live between the worlds of digital native and immigrant, there are some things that we eagerly engage with and others we may hang back until we feel it is relevant. We have lived through a lot from cassette tapes, floppy disks, CDs and now Airdrop and our music sitting in a cloud.

One of Prensky’s great reasons for his article and research was about education. Having studied at college and university and looking at the new options available plus the uncertainty over future roles – this will continue to be an area which undergoes massive disruption. It may be hard to feel a sense of prestige and achievement after completing a hybrid degree online, I guess we will wait and see – maybe they will give out digital certificates in a great hall?

I have just signed up for two courses in coding and a master class in Photography through Udemy, this amazing organisation offers thousands of course, one I saw had 66,000 ‘Likes’, from Free to $200, many have over 100 hours of content with significant engagement.

I still love books, the right newspapers, the crinkle of a record when the needle first hits the vinyl.

So are you a digital native or immigrant or someone in between? Can you see the digital poor and can you help them? Will your next skill be acquired digitally or analogue? One thing we know, it will all keep changing. Cheers!


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