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Becoming and Staying Technology Literate

By Joe O'Brien, on 20 May 2020

Estimated read-time: 2 minutes

Written by Victoria Abbott, Recruitment Selection Adviser at UCL Careers.

In this post we’ll look at the significance of remaining technology literate (or tech savvy) during these challenging times, with a focus on available communication and collaboration platforms, security measures and also importantly, relaxation time!

What do we mean by becoming ‘technology literate?’

This means your ability to use current technology to find, create and communicate information, both correctly and efficiently.

Why is this so important for me right now?

With the current situation affecting students across the globe, it has become increasingly important for you to remain tech savvy, both to aid with your studies and to remain competitive in the workplace. Communicating with fellow students and colleagues, as well as friends and family is also highly important for maintaining relationships with the outside world, whilst promoting good mental health. Many employers are working to adapt placements, internships and work experience opportunities from physical to virtual environments, so it’s a good idea to make sure you are comfortable with the current online platforms and conferencing services available.

What technology is available to me?

Various platforms for communicating and collaborating whilst working and studying remotely are available, and several have risen to prominence during the current situation. These include Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Meet.

  • Microsoft Teams is a platform that combines a chat function, video meetings and the ability to share and store files. Don’t forget that as a UCL student, you automatically have access to this software.
  • Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing service, enabling virtual meetings with remote or international colleagues and clients.
  • Google Meet uses your browser to share video, desktop and presentations with teammates in real-time.

Don’t forget that all of the above platforms allow both video and audio-only or both, plus chat and instant messaging functions. Until you are ready to go ‘live’ on camera with employers, you can choose the audio-only option or make use of the chat function. As well as the above options, online platforms also offer the ability to collaborate in ‘breakout rooms,’ contribute work, videos and slides with screen sharing and draw, type and add stickers to your shared content.

What about recent security concerns surrounding some virtual platforms?

Recent news stories focusing on ‘Zoombombing,’ where trolls attempted to interrupt a Zoom meeting, directed software providers to tighten up their online security, with all platforms freely sharing the following useful security tips for users:

  • Leave plenty of time to download your software in advance. You don’t want to be rushing and turn up late, even to a ‘virtual’ meeting.
  • Face your fear. If you are unsure about technology or don’t like using computers, make an effort to learn more about it. Many sites offer free online courses to build your knowledge and understanding.
  • Always ensure your device is compatible before downloading any new technology, and ensure you load all application updates as soon as they become available to maintain robust security.
  • Use a virus-checking software application on laptops and PCs – many are available for free or as part of your broadband package.
  • Avoid common scams via automated calls and malicious websites, and double-check before clicking on suspicious links in emails or text messages if you do not trust the source.
  • Ensure virtual meetings are created with passwords, proper registration and ‘waiting-room’ protocols to create a secure and productive environment.

How can I use technology to relax?

You may be finding the current situation challenging, so it is very important to remember to take a break from studying or job hunting. Other applications such as Houseparty, Facebook and Instagram are available for communicating with friends in a more informal or relaxed setting. LinkedIn is also useful for building networks with employers, academics or groups that interest you. Various mindfulness and wellbeing apps are also available to download, with basic packages often offered for free to students.

Remember that technology is here to help you, open up opportunities and make life easier – as are your friendly UCL Careers team!

Whether you’re exploring options, writing applications or want support preparing for live or recorded video interviews, our range of different appointment types will give you tailored one-to-one support. Although our office is closed, our virtual doors are still open and we’re running as many appointments as ever, via Microsoft Teams.

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