I love what neuroscientist Danial Leviton shared about how we often gain wisdom as we age—we have more experiences, we have the ability to make more associations in our thinking, we can recognize patterns, and get better at using analogies. However, our ability to quickly learn and retain new information might not be as easy as we age. Nonetheless, because we are living in a rapidly evolving technology-dependent environment, we have to patiently learn what we need to know.
I am not afraid of technology. I started teaching online in 1998 and continued to teach some of my courses online for the next twenty years. I can make changes on my website and know how to change or update content. I’ve been using Zoom for months and will be using Google Meet for the first time next week.
It Can Involve Patience to Learn New Technology
I am striving to keep up with all the changes that are taking place. Still, it takes me time to learn new technology—far longer than it does for younger people who grew up with technology and easily grasp new technologies.
When I found a video editing program I wanted to use, I spent several hours on YouTube learning how to use it. I felt frustrated because it took me far more time to learn it than I had anticipated. When I told my son about the program, he decided to use it as well. In less than an hour, he was using the program and tutoring me on things it could do.
Recently, I traded in my twelve-year-old Honda Civic for a new Honda. When I went to the dealership, the salesperson asked if I wanted to test-drive the care. Then, when I asked for a key, he handed me a keyless ignition fob and told me it was all I needed. Before I figured out what I needed to ask, the salesperson had disappeared.
If You Grew Up with A Lot of Technology, It’s Simple
I pressed a button and the car started, but it wouldn’t go forward. I tried everything I knew to do, but nothing worked. When the salesperson returned after about twenty minutes, he told me that I needed to have my foot on the brake while starting the car in order for it to go from park to drive.
While I was at the dealership, I learned what I needed to know to drive the car home. If the salesperson had tried to explain how to use the touch-screen entertainment panel, how to pair my phone or do anything else, I would not have remembered it after a single set of rapid-fire instructions.
When I got home, I found a YouTube video that explained how to use the tech-features in my car. I saved the video so I could review it more than once. I also remembered something one of my ten-year-old grandsons showed me—I could click on the settings icon at the bottom of the YouTube video to adjust the video speed. I could also use the ‘K’ key on my computer to stop and restart the video. If I wanted to fast-forward, I could use the ‘L’ key or the ‘J’ key to go back to an earlier segment.
We Can and Must Keep Learning
Making an effort to keep up with technology is necessary for functioning in an ever-changing world. It may be frustrating, but I know I can learn whatever I need or want to know. Any of us can learn what we need to know. All we need to do is type in the right search combination to find a good “how-to” video on YouTube or ask the right person for a little guidance. In exchange, we can share a bit of the wisdom we’ve gained from our years of living.