By Kathleen Iverson
In the past, technology was for e learning designers and not part of the required skill repertoire for trainers, OD practitioners, HPI professionals, and the rest of us. But today and in the foreseeable future, skill in technology usage will be not only a “nice to know” but an essential component of workplace learning professionals’ and educators’ basic skill set. In order to continue to do our jobs well, we need to make sure that we are “techno-literate” and have mastered a variety of software and applications that make us an essential part of the workforce of tomorrow. Here is a list of competencies and essential tech tools that are needed not only by those working in e learning or instructional technology, but by everyone in our field.
- Communicate virtually in writing. Organize and manage e-mail, prioritize response time, communicate clearly and concisely in writing with minimal grammatical error, and choose the appropriate words and tone.
- Work collaboratively: Ability to work with others virtually using simple document sharing applications like Google Docs or file sharing applications like iCloud or Live Mesh.
- Use basic software packages. Utilize Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (or similar) to create documents that are visually, grammatically, and numerically clear, visually appealing, and correctly formatted.
- Use images to communicate visually. Use image management and editing and capture software to enhance comprehension and clarity. This might be the free Snipping Tool that comes with Windows or a commercial package such as SnagIt from TechSmith.
- Have a social networking strategy. Create a cohesive and professional virtual profile using appropriate social network tools including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other appropriate tools. Remember to keep your personal life separate from your professional life. Many people use LinkedIn for professional networking and Facebook for personal networking. If you choose to use Facebook in your professional life, keep a separate Facebook account for your personal life.
- Synchronous Virtual communication. Select and utilize appropriate virtual communication tools such as Adobe Connect, WebEx, Go To Meeting, Skype, Face Time, and various conference calling packages. Some free tools, such as Google Talk/Chat and Yahoo Messenger provide a spectrum of options, from instant messaging to audio chat to video chat.
- Develop electronic information: Using basic tools like Screenr, Jing (from TechSmith), iMovie, Sound Cloud, and advanced tools such as Adobe Captivate.
What are your thoughts about techno-literacy? Could you add to, change, or edit this list to improve it?