Developing your digital skills is important for your studies, career and your personal life. Digital capabilities are broad and cover the ability to use and interact with digital software. Digital software often use the same formats and by developing your digital capabilities you can learn to pick up new software quicker and to self-solve digital problems.
As a student, you will often find yourself using digital tools, such as Microsoft Word to complete assignments and to do research. Learning to use these more efficiently can save you time and help you find the research and resources that you want.
In this episode Matt Gilooly and I discussed some key ways that you can develop your digital capabilities to make you more efficient and to remove digital frustrations.
First, learn to explore the digital apps that you use in an environment where there is less pressure on you. Matt suggested that you should ask questions such as, 'What does that button do?' and 'I wonder how I can do this'. Be free to click buttons and see what happens. If there is no pressure then you might discover something that is game changing and will save you lots of time. Software continually updates and I frequently find something new that is amazing. Examples include the A-Z tool in Microsoft Word that can automatically sort a reference list, or the Ctrl+F (Windows) key that allows you to search a document, website and some journals for key words. So when using digital software, be curious as you can only gain from exploring... although I would recommend to save a copy of any document before you start!
The second key point that Matt discussed was to look for guidance on how to use software as well as self teaching it to yourself. YouTube is an amazing resource and is filled with user guides on how to do amazing things with software. Don't be afraid to explore what guides are available on YouTube and on other trusted sites on the Internet. Matt identified some really useful software that I have linked below, each one has lots of video and written guides that you can explore in your own time.
The final key point to highlight (although there were lots of others in the episode) is that anyone can develop their digital skills and at any level. Learning new digital skills can open up lots of new options for you, can save you money and allow you to do things that others cannot do. I spent some of my time as a student developing skills in poster and video making as I knew that they would be important for promoting what I do and would be useful to have. Having these skills meant that I was able to offer new solutions and to stand out. I knew nothing about these skills but had a growth mindset and went out and tried to develop them using resources such as YouTube to guide me. I am sure you too can do the same!