Val’s roving reports – Capturing hearts and minds: engaging baby boomers

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author:  Val Lawrenson, SFHEA Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching  

As a person of a certain age I believe I’ve earned the right to say, “I know where you’re coming from”, “I get it”, “me too”.  The last 3 decades has seen extraordinary developments in technology. Party line phones have been replaced with watches that have the capacity to monitor activity levels and connect to the internet. Technological advances have brought about massive changes in the way we communicate, work and learn. The universe has no boundaries and we can now communicate instantly across the globe. 

So how do we feel about it, those of us considered the baby boomer generation?  Me, I’m awestruck that this leading-edge technology originated in the  minds of humans. Great minds you must agree. I’m also overwhelmed sometimes and find it difficult to keep up with the pace of change. 

I’m not saying I’m in favour of it all e.g. automatic number plate recognition would not be on a list of favourites. On the other hand, “Maria” the robotic hoover has potential. The more I learn about different technologies the more confident I become. That’s often all it takes really, a measure of confidence; a willingness to try and a safe supportive learning environment. 

As baby boomers we’ve successfully transitioned from black and white TV to technicolour terrestrials; from bookcases to iCloud ; pen and paper to tablets. Like it or not, if we’re going to stay in this game there’s several things we need to do.  

We must overcome whatever it is that prevents us conceding that IT is playing an increasingly more important role in our lives. Technology is probably never going to rule the world although advances in Artificial Intelligence mean someday it might be a close call. 

Baby boomers need to take heart, we’ve got this. Now is the time for us to show millenniums or generation “Z” (or whichever letter we’re using now) what we’re made of. Spread the word, shine the light, pick up the baton don’t give up the fight. 

You can see where you are on your digital journey by undertaking the reflective digital capabilities self-assessment – DigiPath.

E3Hub (TELT ) advertise regular training sessions or you can contact  or  for advice related to Blackboard and Turnitin. Your Faculty Learning Technologist is also available for one to one advice on specific issues. 

Microsoft has a wealth of learning resources you can access and work through in your own time at your own pace.  and YouTube also have digital literacy skills resources to get you going. 

DigiLearn buddies (academic colleagues who have indicated a willingness to support others in their mastery of learning technologies) are springing up all over the university. Contact your Faculty learning technologist for more information.  


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