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TCEA Responds: Get Current on Tech Learning

by Miguel Guhlin
customer service

Dear TCEA Responds:

I was wondering, I have had my Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration for 20 years now. I wanted to go back and take classes to improve and update my knowledge of computer skills. What classes would you recommend?

-Jim

Dear Jim:

Kudos to you for rekindling your desire to continue learning about technology. As you can probably imagine, there have been quite a few changes in technology in the last twenty years since you graduated. Let’s explore some of the changes made, as well as some opportunities to get you up to speed.

Big Change #1 – Hyper-connected

As you have noticed, especially if you use a smartphone, we are all now hyper-connected to each other. What that means is that each person is a part of a bigger network of connected human beings and devices. Now, if you need information or have questions, you don’t have to rely solely on one medium (e.g. magazines, books, television). Instead, you can reach out to the authors of articles, books, and practitioners in the field. Find people you want to learn from online and then follow them on social media (e.g. Twitter, LinkedIn).

Twitterchats, focused conversations on Twitter around your favorite topic, also allow for fast learning. Here are seven Twitterchats that will get you started in business. These may also serve grade 12-16 students interested in how social media can impact business communications.

Big Change #2 – Collaborative

“Collaboration divides the tasks and multiplies success,” goes the old saying. Now that you’ve seen how hyper-connected people are, you may also want to upgrade your technical skills. While we will explore a few self-paced learning options below, one big change involves the nature of collaboration today. New business tools such as Office 365 and Google Suites provide traditional word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and note-taking tools in a collaborative environment.

What sets these apart from past versions you may be familiar with is the collaborative aspect. Each now allows for web-based, or internet, access to documents for sharing with others. Instead of coming up with a business plan, a presentation by yourself, then emailing that to someone, you can simply invite people to edit a shared document.  Your ability to create in virtual space, working together with others at a distance, will set you apart from those who cannot or who avoid collaboration.

Big Change #3 – Self-Paced, Personalized Learning

Ready to get your technical skills up to speed with self-paced, personalized learning opportunities? While you can certainly pay for Lynda.com, Udemy.com, and many others, you may want to take advantage of several free alternatives first.

  • Microsoft’s Educator Community: This online community provides access to free, online professional learning courses. These courses often grant you points in the Community and/or digital badges you can display. Some offer certificates that you can print and put in your portfolio. They cover the basics of Office 365 tools like OneNote, Word Online, PowerPoint Online, and more. You can get started using your free Microsoft account, Twitter, or Facebook account.
  • G Suites Learning Center: This website provides access to various facets of Google Suites for Education. Definitely explore it to develop your learning.
  • YouTube: Many millennials and Gen Z’ers are growing up learning how to do something on their own. They accomplish this by watching videos on YouTube. You can search online to find a wide variety of topics and learn, then apply what you watch. One of my favorites on new tech isSteve Dotto. For example, learn all about Slack, which is a new tool used in today’s businesses.

One Constant

In spite of these big changes, you can rely on one constant. That constant? TCEA offers online professional learning for the low-cost of $49 a year. These learning opportunities include Lunch-and-Learn webinars, Get Your Google On webinars, Microsoft Academies, webinar bundles, face to face conferences/conventions, and more. Be sure to check out our blog to see the latest and great idea sharing. Also, be sure to register online via TCEA Events.

 

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