DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY SKILLS

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INTRODUCTION

In this module we will discuss about important skills to possess, how to develop these new skills, and lastly, how to keep up as the digital landscape constantly shifts around us. Several approaches and resources will be provided to help you learn effectively and quickly.

OBJECTIVE

The content of this module will help you identify the digital skills you will need to become an effective changemaker in the context of digital community building and leadership. The module also aims to allow you to appreciate the importance of learning quickly due to the constantly changing landscape of technology, equipping you with the fundamental tools and resources.

SUMMARY

Digital Skills

My favorite quote to describe this lecture is from Naval Ravikant, “read what you love until you love to read”. The three foundational skills encouraged to develop:

Strong literacy: the ability to write well, particularly as more and more things happen online, being able to communicate your ideas clearly, actually in a concise way, is more important than ever.

This is especially true if you are writing the copy for your social media campaigns or writing an op-ed piece for a physical/digital newspaper or magazine. Luckily, there are many free tutorials online which you can find. If you are curious about what are the main components for writing an effective piece: try to reflect:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the facts and key message?
  • Perhaps consider whether you can answer the When, Where, and the How!
  • And lastly, what’s the call to action? This is very important!

Strong foundations in math and logic: having the fundamentals in algebra and statistics will help out enormously if you want to convince policy makers or the wider population about the trends, the economic or the quantitative impact of climate change to your community or the biodiversity.

Ability to collaborate and build relationships: you will not have all the skillset to run an entire campaign or organisation. You might be required to tap on volunteers and other supports who are experts in a specific field. Your joint forces will be more impactful and the skill to collaborate effectively is very important in the digital age.

The power of combining skills or stacking skills is what makes changemakers stand out!

Learning how to learn

If you’re trying to learn how to use a piece of software or so, anything technical like that, it’s really important that you pick something that you can run easily on your own computer with the hardware that you have, or something that you have access to.

Pick a skill that your friends know because now you’ve got somebody to ask questions and somebody to share your experiences with, and these will really useful sources of motivation Start with a good book like an introductory book or an introductory online course to test your interest and motivation to deep dive into learning a skill further.

Focus on the basics for this first week when you’re starting out

As soon as you’ve got the basics down, then you want to switch to your own projects. Project based learning is the real secret to learning things quickly.

Three key risks that you need to manage as you are teaching yourselves digital skills:

  • Choosing a project that’s too hard
  • Procrastinating from doing projects
  • Starting multiple projects at once, learning different skills at the same time

Just remember that getting it done is better than it being perfect, because as soon as you start to get that external feedback, especially from people who don’t know you, that’s when you really hear the truth. That’s when you’re going to really start to learn.

Keeping up with the changing digital landscape

Continuously improving and maintaining digital skills are extremely challenging because the reality is that any digital skill is going to go stale fast, and that’s just because technology is changing so quickly. So how do you approach this challenge?

To ensure that you’ll stay on top of trends, it’s worth spending 20 minutes per day just reading up on the area that you’re interested in and keep your appetite for learning high.

Sign up to newsletters or follow anyone on social media who can inspire you to keep motivated to learn. Reach out to friends who can also be your peer network to help and guide you in your learning journey.

Find yourself a mentor to guide you through complex subjects and the application of theories and concepts.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Take it easy and make learning a habit - simple changes to your daily routine can make a huge difference in allowing you to increase your technical ability to incorporate new things to level up your projects and community building efforts.
  • Learning should be enjoyable and can be a way to connect with others!

CHANGEMAKER CHALLENGE

  • Beginner: Grab a book or any reading material and start reading the book! Schedule a specific time slot in your week and make sure to finish reading your book. Stick to your schedule to improve and refine your learning habits!
  • Intermediate: What is the skill which you think will create the most difference in your daily work or in your project? Once you know what skill it is, assess whether you will need a book or perhaps access to an online course to support your learning journey. Make this your personal project to accomplish learning the skill and apply in a project. -Advanced: There are many complex digital skills you can learn like programming, digital marketing, data science, product development, etc. Why don’t you take an extra mile and challenge yourself to either enroll in a course or teach yourself a complex topic and aim to get a certification. That way, you will be on the right path to becoming an expert in the field.

OPTIONAL MATERIALS

REFLECTION CORNER

After watching the video of the module, we encourage you to think, reflect and learn about the following questions:

  • What skills do you think are the most important for you to learn to become successful in becoming a changemaker?
  • Do I know anyone in my network who I can ask for support and guidance?
  • Do I have a dedicate time and allocated resources to allow me to learn my desired skills?

FACILITATOR

CHRIS SAMIULLAH
FOUNDER, COURSEMAKER.ORG
UK

Chris is a tech lead for a startup unicorn before founding his own startup company, CourseMaker.org. He is a uDemy course instructor on machine learning and have taught 15k+ students globally. He is self-taught in programming, having graduated with degrees in English Literature and Business Management. He lived in India, Pakistan, and South Africa in his adolescent years. He loves Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and speaks Chinese after living in Beijing for 3 years.