Her big point was that new, fresh-faced (read, "recently out of college") people in an organization fill an essential role by bringing new technologies to a group because they've had recent education on the latest-and-greatest. The older people get locked in their ways with old technologies, and a development team / department needs revitalization occaisionally with new people. She argued that older professionals didn't need to follow newer technologies because they had to support their previous work. It was almost as if the only way new technology gets introduced was through new people.
I don't agree.
I think it is the responsibility of each person to keep up to date on technologies, on art forms, on whatever your chosen industry is. I cannot fathom why someone would not want to do so, yet my coworker insisted that it was near impossible for experienced people to not get locked in their ways. The discussion was primarily targetting computer programmers, but I feel it applies almost universally to any technical skills or business organization as well.
I get the impression that many consider education to be somethat that happens in classrooms before you start your career. That, other than spice/job training later on, you get educated first, then go and get your job. When there, you should focus on producing whatever widget you've been assigned by doing what you already know, keep your nose to the grindstone, and don't look up.
I say that's just short-sighted and a misalignment of priorities. Why isn't continual education valued more? Why don't most people make it a high priority to keep up to date? Don't they want to stay competitive with the best tools available? Wouldn't they want to adopt better perspectives towards old ideas? And for those of us still stuck in day jobs, don't they think it is their responsibility to provide the highest quality they can? Doesn't that often rely on using the best one can? It seems to me that continual education only helps you keep an edge.
Admittedly, I've always been a "latest-and-greatest" guy. But there's an important part of that: "latest-and-greatest." In general, the main reason that new technologies, methods or perspectives get adopted is because they have a perceived (and often real) benefit over existing methods. If they don't add anything, they'll get tossed to the curb. And of course, if they do improve the industry, then you better keep up or you'll get tossed.