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I was invited to be a ‘test speaker’ (now called ‘target speaker’) for a Toastmasters Area Contest in London, ON Canada in March of 2015. While preparing my speech I came across an article about Digital Immigrants. The article discussed the difference between the so called ‘digital immigrants’ and the ‘digital natives.’ This concept inspired me to present a 5-7 minute speech as project 7 of my Competent Communicator manual.

The concept of digital immigrants vs digital natives involves differences in learning techniques. Learning methodology has changed with the advent of digital devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones. The fact that young people have been raised around and taught with these digital devices and digital media makes them digital natives. Older adults whom are now just getting into using computerized devices such as tablets and smart phones are the digital immigrants.

The way we are learning and being able to tap into infinite resources on the Internet has totally changed the educational landscape. Those arriving on the scene now are having a struggle with learning new skills and are forced to do so in order that they can compete in the job market. Older adults are remaining in the job force as they are unable to retire. Younger people with computer skills are desirable to employers as they have new knowledge and are youthful. Younger people also have lower wage expectancies, or so think the perspective employers.

What younger people lack however is work ethic and work experience. They have not had on the job training and have not had the discipline of years of working to support a family. This begs the question: why not have the younger people teach older adults the computer skills they need and at the same time have the older adults teach the younger ones about job etiquette, how to deal with life on life’s terms and how to overcome typical job related issues such as getting along with coworkers and management.

I wish to explore the benefits and means of having the Digital Immigrants and the Digital Natives work and learn together. Both parties would benefit and the working population could have a more rewarding experience. I believe it could be a win-win scenario for both employers and perspective employees. The world would be a better place because of it. Stay tuned for more on this topic.