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  • Oliver Gosden

How lockdown taught me to embrace technology

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

For the longest time, I was something of a “technophobe”. I was never one of those people who was interested in having the latest gadgets or tech and was one of the last people in my social circle to get a smartphone. Facebook and all other forms of social media were alien to me and as far as I was concerned, “the cloud” was just what rain fell out of. A lot of the time all this “must-have tech” seemed to be a bit frivolous and overly-complex for me to really get behind and integrate into my everyday life. It was a luxury that I didn’t really need to invest my time, attention or money into.

And then along came a global pandemic and like many people, I had to adapt quickly. Suddenly I found myself not so much reluctantly “dabbling” in tech as actively embracing it. Whether it was home-working, home-schooling or connecting with friends and family, my mostly “analogue” life became predominantly digital within a matter of weeks.

One of the big adaptations I, along with many others have had to make over the past year, is using video conferencing. While I look forward to the days when we can safely meet people face-to-face, there are aspects of using apps like Microsoft Teams and Zoom which I’ve come to appreciate. It allows me to be both more flexible and disciplined with my time; I can meet online with a prospective member when it is most convenient to them without either of us having to suffer the added stresses of trying to “beat the traffic” or “brave public transport”. A meeting becomes an hour of our time, rather than a chunk of the day set aside for one meeting, book-ended by travel.

Looking back, I can now see that a lot of my previous “techno-sceptic” views were driven by a fear of change and that my lack of comfort and knowledge might leave me feeling exposed or foolish. I let that prevent me from embracing new technology and apps which could make my working life actively better. I can safely say that this past year, for all its challenges, has made me a convert. If you are looking forward to going back to how things were, maybe it would be a good idea to stop and look forward to how things could be?

For example, when I launched Teachers Together, one of my aims was to be as paperless as possible.

We make use of apps such as Trello to plan, organise and track operations, Microsoft Lens for digitising things like receipts and ID documentation, while Adobe Acrobat Pro and its electronic signatures feature provides an easy fuss-free way to fully digitise our paperwork.

I’d love to say that I sourced all of this through my own research but the truth is I had a lot of help from my wife who is well versed in the applications of tech and the complete opposite to me. She has been - and continues to be - a massive support for the business, helping me define the Teachers Together infrastructure and identify the tools which allow us to operate in a more advanced and, dare I say, easier way than I’d have thought possible.

It is safe to say that as a company we are embracing the new technologies available on the market to help with efficiency and the end user experience. How many other people find themselves in a similar position to me? Will they make the decision to go back to what, for many, worked very well for a long time, or will they embrace the new skills and methods developed over lockdown and incorporate them into their business model?

The funny thing is that, for all my fears and concerns, it has not actually been that difficult to embrace the change. It’s made me realise that often the barriers that we put up preventing us from achieving things could easily be knocked down if we looked to available technologies to help us meet our goals.

That being said, I still keep a pad and pen to hand, just in case!

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