Thinking inside of the box?

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License by Rebecca Lader

Reading the article by Tom Haymes I am struck how similar my experience is to what he is talking about in the article. I agree that most people do not approach technology in the same way as I envision its use. For example when I tell others about my research interests, I usually receive a puzzled stare or will be told to pick another topic that relates more to nursing. For me, nursing and technology go hand in hand. I am constantly trying new things- I started using chat rooms 7 years ago to do post-conferences with students. I found these to be effective as traditionally post-conferences were done at the end of a twelve hour shift when people are tired, hungry and just wanted to go home. So I used the chat room for the the course and had the students meet with me online at a pre-arranged time. This worked well as students were more energetic, actively participated, and used websites to provide others with additional information about the topic for discussion. I found that students who did not speak up regularly in the small group shared more with others and better yet, I had a copy of the transcript to record what was said.

So now if you fast forward several years, I have not seen much uptake with technology in the area in which I work. Those that use technology do use it and look for ways use to use tools. Those that do not use it, simply do not and do not see the need to change their practice. We have a variety of tools available for practice, so why are we not effectively using them? Haymes states that one possible reason is the fear of failure. In order to help academics to overcome this fear, Haymes provides the following three strategies:

1) make users aware of the technology
2) make the technology easy to use
3) once in use, the technology must become essential to their lives, work etc

I agree with his strategy as obviously people are not going to use it if they do not know about it. If the technology is not easy to use, then why would you every expect anybody to use it? Once it becomes part of your life, technology really does become essential to daily living (I know that I spend most of my day on the computer). The biggest area that needs to be changed is the reluctance to face change which Haymes addresses in the article. This is what I see as the biggest threat to technology uptake. For example we have the technology to do classes online yet I am still required to drive 5 hours for each class. The reason given is that a big part of the program is meeting face to face. My question to you is if I am able to use videoconferencing or Skype are we not meeting face to face? I can see you, can you see me? Maybe not if you are thinking inside of the box.

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