‘Become Tech Savvy’ is a series designed for anyone who wants to learn how to use technology with confidence, ease, and minimal frustration, as well as those who want to help someone else with technology. No matter your age, experience, background, or current skills, this series will provide a unique strategy for mastery.
For the already tech savvy and IT folks, this will be a valuable resource to share and reference while supporting others as it will deconstruct the barriers to becoming tech savvy. Keep reading to discover why absolutely anyone can and should become tech savvy and why this series is unique.
Introduction for the already tech savvy and regular readers
Odds are very good that like me, you’re the go-to tech support resource for your friends, family, and colleagues (maybe you even do it for a living). While it can be fun and rewarding to help out, it can also be difficult, frustrating, or overwhelming, especially depending on how many people regularly need your support. Some of the challenges include remembering what it’s like to not have the skills and knowledge you do, fitting it in your schedule, supporting remotely, and repeatedly helping with the same issues.
Over the last ten years as a teacher in public schools and also working for a major tech company, I started piecing together the distinct attributes that allow a 90-year-old (or anyone) to have fun with tech and use it confidently. I’ve discovered how and why a 50-year-old can convince themselves they’ll always be tech-illiterate or that they’re too old to learn something new. I’ve also met people in their 20’s who don’t know what a backup is and are often frustrated with technology.
The root problem for frustrated users is not a lack of information. Derek Sivers nails this, “If information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” To help others become tech savvy we need to first look at choosing the right mindset, transforming limiting beliefs, and then scaffolding their experience and exposure with an effective strategy and deliberate practice. I’m excited to share this series with you and hope it improves the lives of those around you as well as your own!
Introduction for those who want to become tech savvy
If you’ve decided to become tech savvy, cheers and welcome! Feeling confidence and ease as a technology user is a very useful goal and will positively impact your life in many ways. If you’re still unsure that you really can or even want to, read this article to learn why you absolutely can and should become tech savvy.
First things first, the most important part in considering becoming tech savvy is to focus on your own goals and progress. Don’t focus on the idea of learning it all at once or thinking about everything you cannot do (the design of this series will help you take it one step at a time). Also, try not to be distracted or frustrated by others’ abilities, comparison is often the thief of joy.
We’re all knowledgeable and ignorant, just on different subjects. The goal is sustainable, steady growth, no matter the pace or where you’re starting from (think 1% better every day).
Why You Should
Like all inventions, technology provides the potential for immense benefits as well as many opportunities or problems. These problems can make us feel frustrated, angry, disappointed, discouraged and helpless. The great news is that we can eliminate these negative feelings by learning to use technology competently.
I define being tech savvy or tech competent as being able to use technology with confidence, ease, and minimal frustration (just as someone can achieve the same with playing an instrument or driving a car). That may seem difficult right now, but this series will guide you smoothly to tech savvy mastery as we deconstruct invisible roadblocks and the best ways to approach building your experience and exposure.
The two biggest benefits to using tech confidently and easily are:
- To make creating, sharing, playing, and working efficient and fun. Every day our lives are more intertwined with technology. From ordering food to staying in touch with family to running a business or being an educator, technology is integrated into everything and will only keep increasing.
- When you become efficient and skilled with tech you can save yourself lots of time, which allows you to focus more energy on your priorities and enjoy life more.
Why You Can
“I’m technologically illiterate” and “I’m too old to learn this stuff” are shared with a somber laugh by many people I’ve met. Sadly, the false idea that these things are unchangeable have become a given for far too many people. The trick is to change these narratives with questions like, “why wouldn’t I be able to improve my skills?”, “I’ve learned lots of new things before, what would stop me now?”, or “why would I be too old to learn?”
These questions decode why such limiting ideas have become so popular, they give people an out. If you believe you can’t, it removes any reason to try. There is nothing inherently wrong with believing you can’t do something or deciding to keep on as an un-savvy tech user (or staying ignorant on any subject matter), but it is a choice, not a life sentence.
If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. -Jim Rohn
Now that we’ve deconstructed some of the limiting beliefs that hold us back, we can ask a better question, “how are our choices helping us meet our goals?” Seth Godin cuts to the chase with this quote, “Of course your behavior is justifiable. That’s not the question. The question is, “is it helping?”It’s that simple, what do you want your behaviors to help you do? If you want to learn something new, you may need to adopt a new state of mind that sets you free from past limitations. Mainstream beliefs often hold us back, but if you start looking for evidence that will support why you can be successful and learn whatever you want, you’ll find it.
It’s that simple, what do you want your behaviors to help you do? If you want to learn something new, you may need to adopt a new state of mind that sets you free from past limitations. Mainstream beliefs often hold us back, but if you start looking for evidence that will support why you can be successful and learn whatever you want, you’ll find it.
We are always paid for our suspicion by finding what we suspect. -Henry David Thoreau
Why this series is unique
Most tech resources are dense manual style books, isolated Q&A’s, or how-to’s. These resources can help you learn how to do a specific task, but are not efficient and effective ways to master the overall skill of using tech with confidence and ease.
Having the right mindset, changing unhelpful beliefs, and having an efficient and effective strategy for your learning is what will unlock your success. Here’s the foundation of this series, which is why it’s unique and also why it can truly help you become tech savvy no matter where you’re starting from:
- Growth mindset: A productive state of mind is the greatest factor in your success. We’ve never seen any other tech resource discuss this.
- Transform unhelpful beliefs into useful ones: Learn how to start telling helpful stories about yourself, your abilities and goals instead of limiting ones.
- 80/20 Principle: Jumpstart your progress by learning what 20% of things to focus on to give you 80% of the results.
- A strategy that works: Get results as we deconstruct the why-to’s and how-to’s. We’ll show you the best ways to build your experience and exposure and implement deliberate practice.
Alright that’s my pitch, I won’t try to convince you any more about why tech savviness is highly valuable or completely achievable. If you’ve decided it’s not for you, that’s okay. However, if you’ve made your mind up that you can and will become tech savvy and reap the all awesome benefits, cheers, here’s what’s next!
Each week the articles in the Become Tech Savvy series will be organized into the following sections:
- Background, Expectations, & Best Practices This portion will cover the what and why with the best ways to understand and think about a given topic.
- Do This This is section will include the how-to in compressed directive form. This section will efficiently and effectively build your skills with deliberate practice. You can even have fun with this with your friends, family, kids, etc. by making a game or challenge out of it. Will anyone know if you don’t do this part? Actually, yeah they probably will 🙂
- Troubleshooting Some articles in this series will include this section to of course address common issues and provide solutions.
Alright, here is your first Do This assignment:
Open the application ‘Pages’ and choose a new blank document (or other word processor of your choice), copy and paste the questions below and fill in your answers (highlight the questions with your cursor, right-click and select copy, right-click in new doc and select paste. Or, on the keyboard use command + C for copy and command + V for paste). You can even keep the same doc as a Become Tech Savvy journal and keep adding to it as you go (yeah, paper could work too, but not encouraged).
1. What programs or applications do you use frequently and are most important to you?
2. What applications do you feel confident using now?
3. What do you enjoy doing the most with tech?
4. What would you like to learn or what do you see others doing that you’d like to do?
5. What possibility excites you most and what frustrates you most about technology?
6. Share these answers with someone and let them know why you want to become tech savvy! Make a plan to check in with this person(s) each week to keep them updated and get support and feedback.