Smithsonain Quests

4 tips for getting to grips with technology

childs play sign
Having trouble grasping new technology? Go about it like a kid.
Whether we are just starting out with e-learning technology or have been taking distance education courses for years, we are always faced with a constant stream of new technology to understand and utilize in order to get things done. Many of us grew up with the internet, and many others watched it grow and slowly begin to change our daily lives. This is something that, once in a while, we mention to our kids. Trying as hard as possible not to sound like we’re lecturing about walking ten miles to school in six feet of snow, we say that, even just fifteen years ago, there was no iPod. This is something that your kids could really care less about, as they pore over their own tech gadgets, learning processes and finding features that you never even knew existed.
So, how is it that kids can learn new technology so quickly? It can seem so complicated for us to break down, and our kids seem to pick up a never-before-seen gadget or game and learn the thing completely within the hour. When it comes to learning new technology, this is actually no fluke. The way a child goes about learning technology is very different from the way an adult faces it. And, we have to admit, there is something to be said for how quickly kids can grasp tech nuances. With that in mind, if you want to forever change the way you see new technology, take a cue from the children in your life, and try things a little differently.
First, start with an open mind. This is the most important difference between the way adults and kids look at technology. Kids start from a place of openness and slowly learn new technology as its very own entity. Adults start with a mindset that is automatically trying to define something new by comparing it to what they have seen and experienced before. This is the first way to limit yourself when it comes to learning new technology. Next time, don’t box in a new product or method by trying to characterize it. Simply approach it with a completely open mind, and you may begin to find ways to use this technology that you have never considered.
Second, explore. When you approach technology with an open mind, you need to forget everything that you already know. Instead of automatically trying to find the area for search, or data storage, or video-making, pretend that you have no idea what this product is actually supposed to do. Just explore it, instead, and it will present itself to you, rather than the other way around. It is by exploring that we are able to truly learn.
Third, let the technology teach you. You don’t need a user manual for technology to present itself to you. The best way to learn is by doing. So simply allow a program to walk you through its intended use. This will make you more connected with the technology and more able to use it with finesse and ease. Instead of figuring out what you want to do with the technology and then learning the processes for those one or two goals, you will be able to learn so much more by exploring and learning from the technology itself.
Finally, play. You can’t learn if you’re not actually interested in what you’re doing. If you’re learning a new technology, try to generate some form of challenge in what you’re doing. Maybe you simply want to beat your own best score in a new game, or maybe you want to figure out how to do footnotes in the fastest way for your writing style. Challenge yourself to do your best, and you will be mobilized to use the technology to its fullest capabilities.
While there is no way we can completely erase our adult natures and grasp technology with exactly the same ease as a child, the most important thing is not to let yourself feel overwhelmed by it. Simply let go, explore, let it teach you, and have fun, and you’re sure to have an experience with new technology that you’ve never had before.

About the author: Kristie Lewis is from construction management degree. You can reach her at: