Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Senior Citizens and Technology

With the pandemic scenario , one of the sectors which has transformed for better or worse is Education. Online learning has been in the space for quite some time, although the relevance has been the greatest in this time since it's foundational moment.

All the schools and colleges in India are going virtual! For someone like me who has been working remotely since the past 4 years, this is a natural progression. But for a 50 something year old teacher, this is something totally different. This is unlearning years of traditional teaching methods which she has carefully adopted and then trying to fit in a completely new medium. For me, this would be as much as a drastic change as going back to work in a Government office from the 1970's.

Senior Citizen and Technology

One of the things this has brought me to think is why do generally older people bad (or slow) to adopting technology.

My mother in law is a school teacher who is in the same situation. And I have been trying to teach her Microsoft Teams for quite some time.. And yet, every day i watch her forget the same old moves i taught her yesterday. Most of this resistance i can blame on her anxiety, but some of the traits are different. 

Compare this to my 10 year old niece who is taking the same online classes. She will know how to mute herself and when to unmute to ask questions while also going to addition options to change her virtual background (which I never taught her). 

So why are older people more resistant to Technology or change?

Curiosity is one of the biggest factors which is higher for a younger generation while the law of diminishing returns applies to those who are older. My mother in law was comfortable in an in-person teaching surrounding and her tools of work and education never involved clicking on a folder or sending an email to anyone.

While the barrier for my niece is already shortened for Technology when she is using YouTube at this age and coupled with hee curious nature to learn how things work and knowing how to 'Google' stuff. She can do these additional tasks flawlessly..

When you grow up with something, you learn it and evolve until it becomes second nature to you! We are the Facebook and YouTube generation, but for my niece Snapchat and TikTok are the platforms she is most comfortable with.. It still takes some time for me to use them when I see the platform and how she uses it!

So does that make me the 'senior citizen' now?