Tempting technophobes: top tips

Andy Tattersall and Claire Beecroft will be sharing tips on converting technophobes at Internet Librarian International. Here's a preview.

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"Focus on the movable"

If your job involves trying to get academics, students or anyone for that matter to use technology to improve how they work, study and communicate you will undoubtedly go through a range of emotions. These can peak with feelings of euphoria and ecstasy as you get a technophobe to have their first Google Hangout to the depths of despair when someone else refuses to acknowledge the importance of using social media to improve communication and marketing.

At times you can feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall or chucking it in and heading off to grow flowers on the Scilly Isles. The harsh reality is as Benjamin Franklin said over 200 years ago: "All mankind is divided into three classes: Those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move." That is still very much the case, so for now leave the immovable and work on those that are movable as in our experience they are the majority. Given time some of the immovable people can surprise you and adapt to who teach invariably develop a gut feeling for which people fall into which category. Changing practice very much relates to an old quote about Web 2.0 from about four years ago that it is a 'state of mind'. That state of mind applies to fresher technologies these days whether they be smart devices, Social Media or Infographics; it is all about know what technology can do for you and how you can utilise it instinctively and naturally.

As part of our session at this year’s Internet Librarian International conference we will showcase ten ideas on how to get people to come to the technology waterhole, whether that be a workshop, seminar, to you personally or find their own way in the ever-spiralling world of tech. For now we will pick three to give you as a taster of what we think has worked for us and could save you from that bruised forehead.

Find champions

Whether you work alone or in a team it is hard trying to get others on board the good ship technology. Whatever their reasons which can vary from lack of time, interest, knowledge or motivation it is incredibly rewarding when you convert someone who once claimed all four reasons why they cannot change. These changelings come along less often than those from the larger groups who variably adapt to technology change. So once you have them onside it becomes highly beneficial to get them to share the positive message. This is especially important when the person is in a position of seniority or high respect, and even better if they did not engage with technology much in the first place. This technology version of a pyramid scheme shows their peers and colleagues that "if they can do it, so can I". It builds evidence and helps cascade good practice down and with time the champions find new ways to use technology that you did not introduce to them. It is essential to retain contact with new champions, offering guidance on a one-to-one basis maintains momentum and helps both you as the instructor and them as the student to develop.

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