TECHNOLOGY!

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As we’ve all had to learn over the last few months, it brings potential difficulties and disruptions and requires a lot of planning.

Even if we get everybody on the same call, however, there are still a lot of things that can go wrong, as demonstrated in this Zoom ad from 2015 (i.e. long before most of us had even the faintest idea of Zoom was and that we’d become so familiar with it):

– Technical difficulties can intensify all of the factors listed above, from social anxiety to loneliness. In fact, there is nothing as lonely as sitting in front of your laptop watching the “waiting for the host to start this meeting” screen (or worse, seeing “This meeting is not available” even though you’ve followed all the right steps).

There is a fine (and often invisible) line between ‘you’re not doing it right’ and ‘the tech isn’t working’. Problems with technology (whatever the root cause) can make us feel insecure, overwhelmed and self-conscious – regardless of how old or young we are.

Just like the location of face-to-face training can be a barrier for some volunteers, the software we use can make training less accessible to some. This might be, e.g. due to the device they use or the operating system of their computer.

Similarly, the same videocall software might look different to different users and have different functionality, e.g. MS Teams allows you to ‘view all’ in the desktop application but not when used in a browser and the “Mic on/off” button on Zoom is not always in the same place for everybody. This means that the tech instructions we give (mic on/off) might work for some participants but not others, which can be incredibly frustrating.