June 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm #163553
“Even as millennials (those born and raised around the turn of the century) enter college with far more exposure to computer and mobile technology than their parents ever did, professors are increasingly finding that their students’ comfort zone is often limited to social media and Internet apps that don’t do much in the way of productivity. One professor at the University of Notre Dame, for example, reports that many of his students don’t even know how to navigate menus in productivity applications.”
I’ve known this from several years of teaching web site development courses and basic computer application courses. An example I often give is just because I grew up around cars and can drive any car off the rental lot doesn’t mean that you want me working on your car engine. Mere exposure to a technology doesn’t equal adeptness with the technology.
June 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm #163637
Interesting and a great point. Generalizations aren’t helpful, determine whether or not the candidate is tech savvy based on past work experience, not their age.
June 8, 2012 at 3:02 pm #163635
A neighbour and friend of mine works in human factors research, straddling psychology and engineering. One of his principle areas of interest is interfaces and how people navigate menus. A lot of menus are poorly designed. While the products they appear in may well have most appeal to more recent birth cohorts, those same products, if launched 20 years earlier, would have likely bamboozled that generation too, simply because of poor design (which, in turn, may be a byproduct of ever-shrinking product life-cycles and less development time).
My own little personal grudge is that the entire “…for Dummies” series (which started out focussing entirely on software) attempted to attribute, by using the term “dummies”, to the learner what was actually the fault of the teacher and designer/developer; nobody acquires skill easily when something is explained poorly.
There may also be something to be said for the increasing tendency to hide a great deal of what happens “underneath” to most consumers who use the technology. Once upon a time, the world was divided into Z-80 and 6502/6809 users. The former CPU was great for dealing with pages of text, while the latter allowed for efficiently moving small bits of graphics data around the screen. From the late 70’s, for the next 10 years or so, the world of tech users was divided up into these two streams, that eventually evolved into the “IBM” and “Apple” universes. The former dealt primarily with text on the screen and required stipulating everything, which in turn required understanding the machine (oh, how I miss my Word Perfect where I could exert more precise control!!). The latter gradually became a more graphical environment in which things were “taken care of” by the underlying OS, and the user simply made things happen. Over time, the division evaporated and now everything is a more graphical mouse-driven environment (we have moved to the Apple-verse). To access bigger and bigger markets, products are designed such that one doesn’t have to know anything about what lies underneath in order to make it work. Plug-and-play was a watchword of the 90’s, but certainly not the 70’s and 80’s.
Not just software, either. Once upon a time, you put a disc on the turntable, connected the cartridge in the tone arm to the preamp, the preamp to the power amp, and the power amp to the speakers. The speaker cabinets might contain separate speakers for different parts of the spectrum which would entail a “crossover network”, that would now compel one to understand what that might to to the requirements of the rest of the system. There was a signal path and signal flow, and if you wanted things to sound half decent, and preserve the quality of your discs, you needed to understand them. Such understanding is no longer requisite to listening to music, even though a significant higher share of the market has some very sophisticated technology in use daily. People understand how to get the content they want (i.e., the apps) but whatever learning they engage in often does not include understanding anything about the technical characteristics of the content itself; i.e., what goes on underneath.
So, perhaps it is a generational thing, but I think it is more reflective of how technology, and especially the way it is designed and marketed, nudges us towards, or away from, deeper understanding about what’s underneath it. Like I always say to colleagues, the more you make things look easy, the more likely people are to think it IS easy….even when it isn’t.
June 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm #163633
Are they really not tech savvy or are they simply not interested in learning many of the archaic machinations that older generations had to go through to produce a more seamless technology / human experience?
I had to go teach myself a thing or two about plant life and living outdoors when I started taking groups of Scouts on camping trips. I never had to learn how to make rope from Dogsbane or Yucca leaves because I have a Home Depot 1/4 mile from my house. I never had to learn what plants are edible or could be used as medicine because I have a Giant supermarket and pharmacy in the same shopping center. Most people don’t have to learn – unless they’re going to spend time in those environments.
I would argue that social media and internet apps do one heck of a lot in the way of productivity. I run my business almost entirely in the cloud these days. I still use Excel or Numbers pretty frequently, but even those apps store my data in the cloud. Seriously… what is more important?: For the Notre Dame professor’s students to know how to use menus in his favorite productivity apps, or to know how to find the answers to real questions?
June 11, 2012 at 8:25 pm #163631
@David: I would agree that some tech skills are no longer needed. That’s why I never bothered to learn to drive a stick-shift or shoe a horse. And I have gotten along quite well without learning more about car repair than how to change a tire on a car.
But the point of the article is to puncture the common belief that the Millennials are inherently more tech savvy than other generations solely because of their generational category. This doesn’t mean that Millennials have to know how to program a Commodore 64 but, given the belief, the Millennials should have an advantage to “find the answers to real questions” through their superior use of technology. They don’t: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/August-2011/Why-Millennials-Dont-Know-How-to-Use-Google/
June 11, 2012 at 8:41 pm #163629
I have similar thoughts about this article. The ND professor uses the fact that 95% of college freshmen at UCLA reported being on Facebook within the last year as a sign that students are not being serious with their technology usage. I think that stat misses the point.
The most insightful comment about millennial technological education was: “As technology continues to advance, slow-moving educational institutions can’t keep up.”
It’s hard to teach good tech skills when the field moves at light-speed. I would argue that one of the best ways to stay ahead of the curve of trending technology is to use social media to track what people are using and creating online.
Knowledge of excel spreadsheets is incredibly useful for a select group of people in select jobs, but it’s a poor indicator if you want to make an assessment of a generation’s tech acumen.
June 11, 2012 at 9:05 pm #163627
Bill – I’m just playing devil’s advocate. It’s a worthy discussion to have, but I am honestly struggling with the correlation to Millennials.
The second article you posted seems to me to be more of a statement about Google, then it is about Millennials. I think the article reads just as well if we substituted Gen X’ers, Baby Boomers or escaped New Jersey big hair fashionistas. Who on the planet really knows how the algorithms of Google’s provide us information?
I have some first hand knowledge of the industry behind guessing the latest Google algorithm. It’s a real challenge to get rankings with Google: backlinks, PR strength, duplicate content, keywords… the whole SEO thing has become an obsession in some circles. If I weren’t getting paid to figure it out, why should I care? I tell my clients all the time to focus on their own business – to do what they’re good at and don’t worry about the technology. It’s a distraction.
As far as having a critical mind is concerned, I think there is some value in understanding that what we’re being served up varies in quality. Everyone, not just Millennials, needs to be taught how to do due diligence, and we also need to understand when enough is enough.
By some measurements, even formerly considered “authoritative” sources are being challenged. Who says X person’s signature is the end of the line? I can hyperlink to 20 other differing opinions. Who says the library of Congress has the best answer when I can reach into research being done live in the Congo via satellite?
Are Millennials more or less tech savvy than generations that came before? I don’t know. Anecdotally, I had a Commodore 64 when they first came out. I felt like I was the only one who had a clue how to program with it. I saw my own generation laugh at what I said we could do with computers. Now, 20 years later, those same people who wee laughing are busy telling their friends and family about the great things that computers can do. I saw my grandmother leave a perfectly good microwave untouched on her counter because it was too confusing to use – yet her life went on very much to her satisfaction.
How is a lack of the kind of tech savvy you’re referring to affecting these Millennials (or anyone else, for that matter)? Maybe they just need to know how to drive the car so they can get on with the important work this generation is going to produce. Maybe that can leave the fixing of the cars to the ones who have a deep interest – from whatever generation – in fixing them.
June 11, 2012 at 9:12 pm #163625
June 12, 2012 at 12:27 am #163623
That’s pretty fascinating.
June 12, 2012 at 12:41 am #163621
I think we are having two arguments here. I agree with what you wrote above because being tech savvy is a personal choice and should fulfill the person’s goals. For example, I had a physics teacher in high school insist that we learn to use a slide rule. Completely useless skill as I have never needed to use a slide rule since. I also admire folks who could sew but other than being able to replace a button, I have no desire to create a blanket. So, I fully agree with your arguments above.
What I object to is the stereotype that one generation just happens to be “naturally” more technically adept than the other generations. Technical skills take time and aptitude to develop which is not at all dependent on which generation you have to be born in. I think you would agree with that.
I do see your point on the Google article and it is a bad example. Faulty thinking is not governed by generational boundaries either as I sometimes so aptly demonstrate. 🙂
June 12, 2012 at 1:10 am #163619
You are right, Bill. I would indeed agree with that. 🙂
I would not so quickly agree that you demonstrate faulty thinking. I’ve seen your stuff and know better.
I find discussions about generational differences mildly amusing. Put into a slightly different perspective, some cultures were using the abucus and demonstrating greater mathematical proficiency that many of our computer assisted math elites of today. I suppose it’s natural to be facinated with the differences between people 10-20 years apart in age. In truth, we’re not so very different.
June 12, 2012 at 12:54 pm #163617
I think the biggest thing here is an argument I’ve been making for 20 years…we (those in the “know” and educational institutions) are not teaching the younger generations technological fluency. This is the biggest technology gap there is. It isn’t that kids don’t have access to technology (and if you look at it, even seriously poor folks are getting to some, particularly smart phones) it’s that no one is teaching anyone how to use it.
I sat down with my kids when they started writing papers for school and went over HOW to locate and evaluate information in electronic formats. I’ve had college instructors who couldn’t tell you how to evaluate an online resource. I had one who said, “if it is a .gov or .org it is an OK source for papers.” I’ve registered and used a .org… is she serious?
Very few kids, who are learning keyboarding and using various tools online in classes, are taught how to navigate the web, how to locate and use tools, how to evaluate trash, to ask if something is a spoof or junk mail, they are expected to have absorbed these things in the womb?
I was recently horrified to discover that neither of my kids consider the use of a word processor to be “important” even in college. The oldest uses nothing but notepad! This from a person who refuses to play online games with anything but the best graphical interface just doesn’t see any value in a tool which confuses him and he hates dealing with anyway. He dislikes writing so the tool that I consider essential to making it easier–is a burden to him.
I’ve raised two tech savvy kids. One is almost entirely focused on music and only knows those tools. The other is considering engineering and international business and is learning Chinese. Both have some serious tech skills (mostly white hat, I hope!) but neither is particularly “traditionally” useful as described in the article. I’ve made sure they can both open and read a spreadsheet and write a simple web page but they resist my efforts and head their own directions. The younger one mentioned recently that “your tools at work are boring” — maybe he’ll find a better way to do something financial with new tools.
Our educational paradigms are certainly failing in these areas but I’m not sure what the solution is. The technological kids pick it up and create new ways of doing tasks. The ones who don’t may not have, even with better instruction. I’d still like to see more effort on introducing online fluency to elementary kids and up…with the economy as it is, maybe we’ll all have jobs teaching the kids how to replace us some day!
June 12, 2012 at 1:06 pm #163615
My son’s the same way. He uses Notepad on his laptop to take notes and write his drafts – simpler, fast for him. Then he opens that document in Word to “pretty it up” – spell and grammar check, end/foot notes, etc. But his home computer, the gaming machine, is a custom-built machine with 2 TB of disk space, and a top of the line graphics card that because of its physical dimensions alone forced him to a full tower case.
June 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm #163613
Both mine built their own machines and didn’t bother to get the software I consider so essential to my daily life. The youngest has been known to write papers on his cell phone! He types 80 words a minute but would rather dictate than bother. <sigh>!
June 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm #163611
@Faye: You raise some great points in your observations. As a college professor myself, I do worry if I and my colleagues are using the right technology for learning. But I also believe that we have deeper responsibility to help the students think critically about the technology and how it will help them achieve your goals.
The example of using Notepad to first write a paper and then use Word to finish the paper is fascinating because it demonstrates how the student uses a simple technology that doesn’t interfere with their process of writing. So, where I may see this as an inability to use a robust productivity tool is actually a smart way for the student to freely write and then edit later.
Makes me question the original article I posted because of the insistence on being able to use productivity tools as a measure of tech savvy.
June 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm #163609
This has been a great discussion to follow. I was also impressed with the example of writing papers in Notepad (@Pattie) and by dictation (@Faye). Interesting to follow how that process is evolving. Thanks for sharing.
June 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm #163607
It may be fair to say that Millennials don’t have a fear of technology that many older workers have. If they can’t use Word, it may be because they haven’t needed it. But if you give it to them, they’ll figure it out. My kid, who has only a marginal interest in computers, figured out how to make and edit videos without much help.
Contrast that with some Boomers and GenXers who refuse to use a cell phone or have a computer in the house. My wife, for instance, refuses to use a cell phone.
June 12, 2012 at 2:31 pm #163605
As I read these notes, I have to chuckle. They make me recall a woman in her 50’s. I was teaching basic computer skills (word processing, printing, etc). As class started, she put her mouse on the floor as she thought it was a foot pedal. This was 19 years ago.
That woman had lived a good life without MS Word. Her typewriter, pen and memo pad did the trick just fine. During this class, it became obvious to me that she just didn’t see any value in a tool which confused her and she hated dealing with anyway.
I was one of the first pioneers in the personal computer game. Anyone who remembers Commodore 64’s, Trash 80’s, tape drives and the first floppies also remembers an entire society that couldn’t be bothered with the computer.
Computers to us we’re never about a program like Word or Excel (or Word Star, dot commands, or Word Vision). They were about being more efficient, about communicating, and about exploring our world in ways that most people in those days hardly imagined. We flowed between programs and platforms effortlessly – always with an eye on the prize in spite of whatever program or platform was in vogue at the time.
So the kids have evolved. They don’t like Word processors (like Word) because these programs are “heavy” and don’t work well in the mobile world. They are using Notepad because it’s what fits nicely on mobile devices and it strips away the bizarre custom character formatting that heavy clients like MS Word rain all over our documents. Notepad isn’t as functional (yet), but it’s much cleaner from a technical perspective. It transitions ASCII much better between Web based cloud applications and mobile devices. MS Word is fat, slow, and bloated by comparison.
This note comes to you via an iPad in a parking lot in Potomac, Maryland. Not pretty, but functional. Am I less technical because I chose not to use fat, heavy clients with multiple menus? Considering my career history, one would have a hard time making that assertion stick.
Things are just changing and people are adapting. Personally, I’m excited to see where this next generation is going to take us. As they pour demand into apps like Notepad, the pressure creates new apps that are lighter, cleaner and more functional. Information flow between mobile devices more easily. People’s mind energy is coming more integrated and accessible. It’s less about technology and more about what we can DO with technology. It seems a little foreign and not as functional, but our own paradigms are helping us to feel that way.
June 12, 2012 at 3:34 pm #163603
Great examples, Faye. 🙂
The education centers have, in my experience, generally been behind the power curve. Where they are teaching programs, they are skating to where the puck IS vs where it is going.
This is nearly unavoidable, except in areas here the school are actively developing new solutions. Industry is actively pushing the boundaries of innovation for survival. Academic institutions tend to study, then filter, then distill, then present. By that time, industry has moved a couple of steps ahead.
There are exceptions, but schools also tend to miss out on the fire and energy that lives on the edge of innovation. Programs are just means to an end. My focus, as a CIO, was on results. I frankly didn’t care much how we were able to get those results. We often used some very bizarre combinations of technologies and platforms to get them. In some cases, our combinations produced something entirely new. My point is, we would all benefit from a focus on outcomes and then use whatever tools are in our environment, or make new ones, to achieve those outcomes. Teach the kids the value of clear communication and of the written word vs how to use a word processor.
June 12, 2012 at 3:36 pm #163601
Excellent. Pattie, your son understands the speed / clean thing. He uses Notepad because it’s cleaner and lighter. Word is useful for making it pretty before print, but it’s a nightmare to use Word between mutiple cloud based apps.
June 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm #163599
Interesting perspective. I am writing this on my personal laptop surrounded by an Android smartphone and my Color Nook which I also rooted to be an Android tablet. I like the simple functional tools but I also enjoy the fat clients with big complex programs with multiple menus. But your point is valid in my case as I also selected my tools for the things they do for me.
I just happen to like editing videos, creating web sites, running simulations, and crunching big data sets. So, again, the idea of measuring another person’s tech savvy based on how I use the tools is fallacious. That gives me comfort as I still prefer to take notes in a meeting with a pen and legal pad while everyone around me is typing on their tablets. 🙂
June 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm #163597
June 12, 2012 at 3:58 pm #163595
Absolutely, Bill! The right tool for the job.
I’m pretty sure we would agree that is a mark of sophistication.
So to evaluate “tech savvy” for any group, we have to ask ourselves (and our students) a few good questions about the environment, tasks and objectives of the people we are considering.
June 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm #163593
As a millennial myself (I am 24) I both agree and disagree with this argument.
Many of my friends can use Excel better than anyone, know every shortcut in Word there is, and keep up with all of the latest productivity programs because they make sense to them. But many of these same people hate twitter and don’t understand it, barely go on Facebook, and basically avoid social media overall because they don’t see the point.
Then there are others who are extremely fluent in social media and are familiar with Word and Excel (we all needed them in school ay some point) but may not know them intimately. We still get the work done, can research fast, and if we don’t know how to do something on a productivity tool we look it up using technology.
Both groups of millennials are tech savvy – just in two different ways. I think part of the problem is that there is a very broad definition of tech savvy that is applied to individual cases. In my opinion, millennials are (generally) tech savvy because they grew up knowing technology was not something they could ignore and they found themselves immersed in it, in some way. Technology is an enormous category and therefore difficult to define as one thing or another.
June 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm #163591
Seems pretty hard to make a correlation between “tech savvy” and Millennials, doesn’t it, Jennifer? What you describe: some good at Excel and Word, some not; some into social media, some not; using technology to look up answers to questions when you have a valid need… this could be (and has been) applied to any generation. We’re not all that different from one another. We find what works – what we need to satisfy our personal definition of success.
What is your personal definition of success, and how does technology help you to achieve it?
June 12, 2012 at 4:41 pm #163589
Well, that’s the thing. I think it’s both true and not. You’re right, there is no “Standard” and really what this has become is applying “technology” to personality traits and skill sets that already exist.
That’s why I don’t think tech savvy is really an apt definition. I don’t consider myself tech savvy. I consider myself social media savvy and web savvy. But ask me to fix a computer or navigate excel past basic data entry and I’ll look at you with a very confused face.
My point is I think that not only we, but the media, researchers, etc are trying to back something that really is just another generation quickly adapting to what is put in front of them. The same goes with those exposed to TV when it first came out. Or the typewriter. Or the telephone. But they weren’t defined by those things.
It’s just that technology has sped up so much and our generation was alive for nearly all of what we now consider “technology” that we’ve been branded by it. But that doesn’t mean we’re a generation of those who think and act the same.
That’s what I was trying to differentiate.
Additionally, I think defining whether a generation understands technology by noting whether they can handle the programs that are more well known and understood by older generations is antiquated. I don’t think they should go anywhere, many of us still know and love them, but if you get the same result by using a different system then there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with that. In fact, sometimes it’s innovative.
June 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm #163587
Wonderful thoughts, Jennifer. Thanks for sharing!
June 12, 2012 at 5:01 pm #163585
June 13, 2012 at 12:47 pm #163583
This is a great discussion. I agree with David, as a millenial, I see my peers not wanting to learn to code in HTML, etc. It is a pain, it isn’t any fun, and gosh, uploading photos to facebook is so easy!
However, I disagree with the notion that milennials, as a whole, are not tech savvy. Witness some of the innovative web solutions proposed and monitized by our millenial ranks, facebook, tumblr, and so many others.
I also would point to the fact that milennials are incredibly quick learners. If you tell me that tomorrow, I have to program in Access or do something else I’ve never done before, I’m going to go to youtube and watch about fifty videos on how to do what I want. When I get stuck, I start googling immediately. Usually I can quickly find a good answer in the fray to keep progress going.
Yes, I probably won’t code FaceMash overnight (Zuckerberg) but in my daily job, I am the go to computer guy without fail.
June 13, 2012 at 12:51 pm #163581
As a millennial working in the FedGov, def find this post to be true for me. It’s a constant battle I deal with at work where whenever we get a new program or update in technology, I’m automatically pinned as the one to “know it all” and expected to be the go to person when people either (a) have questions or (b) just want me to do it for them. I think the difference between millennials and other generations is that we dont know everything under the sun with tech, we’re just more receptive to change.
Besides…Google is my best friend, a lot of ppl at work just dont know that…or maybe they do now………. 🙂
June 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm #163579
Understood. Thank you +
June 13, 2012 at 1:18 pm #163577
I’m throwing a yellow flag… REF! Reverse Millennialism foul.
Millennials are “…more receptive to change?” Hmmm… this sounds an awful lot like a broad generalization of other-than-Millennial generations as being less receptive to change.
Penalty: Fletcher. 😉
Hey… maybe your coworkers just think you’re smart – or that you’re resourceful and energetic enough to find answers. I’m betting that you come through when help is needed – further reenforcing the idea that you’re the go-to person.
June 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm #163575
James – As one who used Google and YouTube pretty often to find answers myself, I wonder how much authority a Millennial like yourself gives to the answers you find there. I think one of my concerns – at least for my own kids – is that they are able and willing to see beyond the first set of answers that come up.
I often know (and/or suspect) that the first things I find on Google are in front of me because they have a better online marketing team than the folks I know have the answers I’m looking for. I may know some truths about the way things are from experience, but what I find in the top ten of Google is what someone wants me to think really happened. I have to dig – sometimes REALLY dig to find the truth. I think this is more true with things like history and/or market research than with simple how-to videos.
I think guys like Bill and I are looking at the system (Google, YouTube, etc) and wondering if the newest generation – the folks currently with the least life experience/ frame of reference – are critical enough to see through the noise and tenacious enough to keep digging – comparing A to B to C to A again – in order to formulate an opinion. It’s easy to stop at the top ten, but how tech savvy is that?
Information is served up like fast food today. Sometimes there is nutritional value in the speed line, but there is also a lot of fat and stuff that’s bad for you. Make sense?
BTW: Great examples of Millennial technical competence with Facebook, Tumblr, etc. 🙂
June 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm #163573
That’s pretty much the point. The original article basically says that kids today don’t use the same tools their parents and grandparents do, so they are not tech savvy. I think they just have a different definition of tech savvy than the author does.
Millennials may not be more inclined to programming than GenX or Boomers. But they won’t shy away from using technology. As Jennifer points out, some just don’t want to use Twitter or Facebook. If they find a need for it, they will, and they’ll do it without a lot of fear and trepidation.
June 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm #163571
Part of the web savvy that I was taught and learned by experience was “only believe information from trusted websites.” Back in the olden days of the internet, this meant not believing information from “Johnny’s Sixth Grade Webpage” but I think the answer is much more nuanced these days. With SEO running the show on Google, Youtube, etc., I agree that one needs to think critically about what they see on the internet.
I have two caveats to this, though: A) If I see something from a highly respected source, (e.g. Kahn Academy, Mr.Excel.com, etc.) I am inclined to believe what they’re saying. Often times, these users provide more robust support and explanations that Microsoft’s clunky tech help websites.
B) I am a true believer in the power of collective intelligence. This is the greatest revolution that the internet has fostered. Wikipedia has done more for society’s collective intelligence and easy access to knowledge than anything since Gutenberg’s printing press. If I’m looking for info on something I know nothing about, I’ll start at the Wikipedia page, check the sources when I need more info, and build from there. I’ve learned more from Wiki-surfing (finding an article and just following the linked knowledge). It’s all about connecting one thing to another, and I’ve found nothing better than Wikipedia to grow that knowledge.
I think my real contribution to this effort, why I’m seen as the go-to guy in my office, is that I can do the critical thinking and research required to get the right answer faster than nearly anyone else in my office. I agree that there are times when deep thought is necessary, and I certainly used those skills to write lengthy college papers. When the question needs to be answered, I can crank out a well researched answer in a timely fashion. As much as that is related to being a millenal, I think it’s at least half my personality, too 🙂
June 13, 2012 at 2:54 pm #163569
That sounds pretty savvy to me, James.
I also agree that your success probably has something to do with your personality and who you are.
June 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm #163567
What a great topic. I am a boomer and my sons are x’rs and y’rs I guess. The youngest grew up with computers and now manages the tech side of a large advertising firm, but I am not sure he could change a flat tire. By definition he is very Tech Savvy. I on the other hand I can fix anything around the house, used to work on cars before they went computer on me, have degrees in engineering and public administration, can still use a slide rule, have an above average working knowledge of computers and software, and consider myself tech savvy also. The least computer “tech” savvy of the family is technically able to survive in the wilderness for weeks.
I guess my point is that the word “tech” is relative. I consider the ability to drive a car with a standard transmission a technical skill. On the other hand, being able to shift gears manually does not a good driver make. Being able to make a smart phone, computer, or iPad, light up and talk to you doesn’t mean that the user is “savvy”. A big part of being savvy is having the wisdom to know when not to use a device, or better yet not being completely dependant on it.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
June 13, 2012 at 6:49 pm #163565
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
June 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm #163563
I think said in earlier replies…repeating anyway…to me tech savvy means understaning how the hidden internal mechanisms operate, interact, and function with each other. Using tools that are technologically advanced can have a dumbing down affect as their intent is usually to make something easier or faster for us humans to do. How many had to learn the multiplication tables to facility our multiplication abilities that calculators now do for us? How many who never learned multiplication tables and other mathmatics rules can perform math functions when they no longer have access to the technology? Of the two, who is more tech savvy? I would say the latter since they understand the rules that the software is complying with on the calculator.
June 13, 2012 at 8:31 pm #163561
How about a friendly amendment to your example: “just because I grew up around cars and can drive any car off the rental lot doesn’t mean that I frequently change my own oil.“?
June 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm #163559
Darn right! That’s why we have Jiffy Lube. And I suppose the tech equivalent is Geek Squad. 🙂
June 14, 2012 at 12:16 am #163557
I think the big difference for millennials is that they are often more aware of what technology can do. I agree that they are probably not necessarily tech savvy and even often have some unproductive technology habits. I am a millennial and what I have noticed is that I tend to expect technology solutions a lot more than generations that did not grow up with it. I will often search for tech solutions for just about anything I do, no matter how simple, ha. Not sure if that makes sense…
June 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm #163555
What is the definition of Tech Savvy…
using one difinition (adeptness with technology/able to get down in the weeds/good application developer/etc) then would offer that generational differences have very little to Tech Savvy
using another definition (ability to understand the concepts/to grasp the big picture/etc) then perhaps there MIGHT be some relationship to generational difference’s if for no other reason than there might be less “roadblocks” for the younger generation(s)
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