Before our children are even thinking about their careers, classroom technology is preparing them by building lifelong tech skills. The great news is, they aren’t the only ones learning from technology.
In this digital age, the adoption of devices and increased use of technology in our lives is about more than just fancy technology. It’s about engaging us all to learn in a way that increases our learning and ultimately sets us up for success. By using technology and digital productivity tools to enhance the learning experience, we are being equipped with future-ready skills that we can apply in the workplace.
Thinking about how tech affects how you work can feel overwhelming. Spending time learning to embrace it is time well spent. Recently I’ve spent time reflecting on how embracing new technology has helped me in my role. My overall conclusion is about confidence: the more you play with technology and think about how it enables you to add more value, the more confident you feel and the more you embrace more technology in ways that work.
1. Technology encourages teamwork
I now work in sales and contribute to conversations in many teams across my organisation. MS Teams helps me do this... a lot! Technology encourages us to collaborate more, affording us the opportunity to communicate, work on team projects and share our strengths regardless of time or location.
I’ve also been using Miro a lot recently – what a great collaboration tool.
Throughout our professional careers, there will be many situations where teamwork and collaboration are necessary. As we work together, we learn how to listen, work well with others and work through conflict to find the best solution.
2. Technology establishes critical thinking skills
I face lots of opportunities and challenges in my job – some that aren’t easy to solve. I have to read and interpret data, talk to others, find ways of stopping firefighting by being more proactive and then move on to learn what we can do differently next time to stop the firefighting from happening in the first place.
However much tech surrounds me, I have to remember my judgement matters more. Does a sales person need lots of help from subject matter experts or am I better providing support to empower them to assess their situation themselves?
One of the top skills on employers' wish lists in today’s job market is critical thinking. Employers don’t want to spend time explaining how to complete a task they just assigned in so much detail they could have just done it themselves. In order to be successful in the workplace, we need to be able to think through the task being asked of us and come up with the best steps to complete it.
Initiatives like mentoring, coaching and networking give us greater access to helpful tools and resources, allowing us to build a habit of working through tasks creatively and effectively.
3. Technology instils responsibility and ownership
Some programmes of learning now provide learners with a tablet, as opposed to printed workbooks. Many employers provide their staff with laptops or smart phones. Employees are required to agree to a code of conduct regarding the use and material accessed on their relative device. This agreement sets a degree of ownership and responsibility for the learner. If the employee doesn’t take care of their assigned device or breaches their code of conduct, they can be subject to having the device taken from them, or at worst, disciplinary action. By setting this level of accountability, employees not only have the reinforcement of consequences but the fact that they are in fact capable of being responsible.
4. Technology teaches us to adapt
No-one can deny the rate and speed of changing technologies. I like to think of myself as an early adopter in most cases! Because most people nowadays become familiar with new technologies before they are used in the workplace, these digital natives are more apt to easily adopt new technology in the future.
Even employees with restricted access at home have the opportunity to engage with technology and increase their computer literacy skills as technologies are deployed in their workplace. As technology changes, employees will develop the technology foundation that allows them to quickly adapt to future technologies.
5. Technology focuses us on career learning
Because the use of technology in the workplace helps employees become more engaged, it teaches us to enjoy and embrace the learning process, even if we don’t realise it. As a learner seeks out new information and answers to questions, we develop a habit of exploratory learning. This is the foundation of career learning.
As career learners we continually seek new information and ways to better ourselves, ultimately leading to skills we can put to use in our personal and professional lives.
6. Technology builds confidence
Lastly, for me, there’s another benefit of technology that might be understated…and that’s confidence. As we use technology to collaborate, problem-solve, explore subjects and more, we gain confidence in our knowledge and abilities.
This confidence builds up like a reservoir for those moments that will inevitably come when we don’t have the right answer or seem to have hit the proverbial brick wall.
Confidence will remind us that we have the skills and resources we need to develop a solution and move forward, which might make it the greatest future-ready benefit of using technology.