Learning How to Use New Technology in a Fast Moving World

Learning how to use new technologies can seem daunting.  It may appear that everyone else already knows what they are doing and it is easy to forget that there are others just like you who are new comers to what ever it is that you need to learn.  Here are some tips on how to make the most out of learning how to use new technology in an environment that leaves little time to catch up.


Step 1.  Look at WHY you are learning how to use this new technology.

Is it for school, work, fun, etc.  If you don’t know why you are doing something then it is hard to motivate yourself to learn.  Knowing why also helps you determine if you want to learn something new.  Now if this new technology is required for school or work, whether or not you want to learn it is a little out of your hands but knowing that in the end having this skill will aid you in doing better at school or work could be enough to WANT to do it.

Step 2.  Take small steps.

Diving directly into something new can you leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeated.  Take small steps.

Read about the new technology before you try it out.  This could be a post from a friend, a professional article, etc.  You could also watch “How To” videos to see step by step instructions on navigating through the new technology before actually trying it out yourself.  Even skim through the new technology, whether that be looking through the manual it came with or skimming over the website you downloaded it from.

Once you’ve researched your new technology and have learned as much as you could about it, its time to dive in.

Below is a video I found by simply googling ‘how to learn a new skill’.

Step 3.  Take Action.

It is time to try it out for yourself.  Download your new software, app, game, or whatever it is that you are learning, and try it for yourself.  If you stumble across an issue or something you do not understand, look and see if whatever you are using has an FAQ page or google a question regarding your issue or simply post on social media and see if one of your peers can help.  If you get frustrated it is important not to give up.

Step 4.  Practice.

You’ve been told your whole life but it is true, practice makes perfect.  The more you use this new technology the better you will know HOW to use it.  Once you’ve mastered it, you could become one of the people who helps others learn how to use it.

Step 5.  Be a master.

Master what you can and continue learning.


An overall concept to remember is to “Remind Yourself”.  Step one is an important concept to keep with you through the entire learning process.  Remind yourself WHY you are taking the time to learn this new technology and develop this new skill.  If you don’t know WHY you are doing something then giving up quickly becomes a very easy task.


Here is a website I used to help me find steps on how to use new technology.


One Student’s Positives and Negatives of Group Work in an Online Setting

Like many other students I have experienced group work dozens of times over my many years of learning. It is strange to realize that through the many online courses I have taken, this one is the only that had a group project.  The following are my personal opinion on the positives and negatives of group work in an online setting, and a reflection on my overall experience.

Group work has many positive qualities that come along with it.

Most of the awkwardness is removed.  As someone who is typically a shy person, group work in person makes me want to crawl in a hole and never come out, especially if its a larger class and you don’t already know, or are at least not familiar with, your group mates.  Approaching group members online is much less awkward because you do not actually have to talk to people.  You can email, instant message, etc.

Adding your input is easier.  I often find that groups will have someone who is a natural leader and in person this can lead to said person dominating the conversation or shutting down other peoples ideas faster.  Online it is much easier to have your voice heard because you can simply type out your thoughts and all collaborate collectively and avoid one person “talking” the entire time.

Learn new ways to communicate.  Online group work forces the members to find new ways to communicate. In a traditional classroom, group members may just wait until they see you in class to ask questions or clarify details but you do not have this option online.  We have to find new ways to communicate.  In particular my group used email and we created our presentation on Sway.  I had never used Sway before so I got to learn how to use this as a tool.

Online group work also came with its problems.

Getting in touch was more difficult.  Communicating online can sometimes be frustrating because something may come up that needs immediate attention.  In person, you could simply say something to your members where you are normally guaranteed an immediate response.  Online, you must send a message or email.  This can be frustrating because you are not guaranteed an immediate response for various reasons.  Members may not check their email often, they may not have time to respond immediately, or they do not want to answer the question and leave it for someone else.

Tone is interpreted, which can lead to issues.  When reading an email or message, it is easy to assume a certain tone that person is conveying.  The problem occurs when the tone that is assumed, usually a negative one, is not the one implied.  This can lead to bad communication and slack in the project if an issue or argument happens.

People feel less accountable.  When online it is easy to never get the same connection as you do in person.  If someone in the group is not holding up their part of the work they may be more inclined to feel bad and get it done if they see the other members in person.  You can lose that online.  If someone does not do their part of the work it is easier to not care because you don’t actually have to see the other members.


Overall, I would say the outcome of my project was the same as if I were to have done it in person.  Along the way I feel there were more difficulties than I would have normally experienced in person mostly because of communication issues.

Here is an article about surviving an online group project.

Three Takeaways of Keys to Online Success

  1.  There are tons of online resources out there to ensure that you have the best online class experience.  Things such as Sway make group work easier.  Trello, my personal favorite, makes planning your day/ week/ semester super easy and accessible.
  2. Online or in person it is important to know what works for you in a classroom.  If you are not familiar with what makes you most productive and what makes you do the best work you can then you will not do well.  Even something as simple as where you study or do your homework can have an effect on the outcome of your work.
  3. It is good to set SMART goals for assignments.  I have always been someone who just sits down and says I need to do the whole assignment at one time and when things are due on the same day I find myself trying to do all of them.  Setting goals helps keep you more organized and more sane, so you aren’t going crazy trying to get multiple things done at once.