One thing that many adult users of technology tell me is that they don’t pick up new technology like younger folks do. This is a common misbelief. I think the core issue has nothing to do with “young brains” or “digital natives” or even the “technology today.” I’ve used technology to teach every age group from adults to elementary students. There are two main differences. The first is that kids aren’t afraid of breaking things. That’s a good thing when trying something new but it’s a bad thing for those of you who are parents. Kids dive right in and begin using new technology-whatever it is.
The other main difference between how kids and adults use technology has to do with the fact that adults are used to being proficient. We pick up a pencil and we know what to do. When we get in a car, we know what to do. The list goes on and on. That’s a good thing-we’ve had a lot of time to learn about the world. However, when we encounter a new technology, there is a hesitation. Sometimes we feel as if we should already know how to work this thing. Adults want to be or at least appear to be proficient. Kids on the other hand are used to being novices. When kids see or work with something new, it’s just another day for them. Their whole world is series of new events, places, things, and ideas.
As adults, we can learn from the kids. When we encounter a new technology, we need to resist the fear of breaking it. Go ahead, play around, push all of the buttons, see what it can do. You won’t break it, I promise. Also, don’t expect to be an expert. Adults sometimes are so used to being the expert that we forget what it’s like to try something new. So go ahead, try something novel. Capture within yourself an adventurous spirit and dive into a new technology. You won’t regret it, I promise.