Embracing The Practice Of Technology Adaptability

Technology adaptability is being willing to try your hand at any and all technology, without fear of failure.

I first heard the term, “technology adaptability,” from Melonie McMichael, who presents regularly on the topic. According to McMichael, “Technology adaptability is the ability to learn technology quickly or deal with technology issues efficiently and confidently.”

As I see it, technology adaptability is being willing to try your hand at any and all technology, without fear of failure. It’s being willing to embrace exploration with a mindset that supports questions of all shapes and sizes. After all, we learn by doing. And anything that holds us back from doing (like fear of breaking something) is just not part of an adaptive mindset.


As you explore the best practices shared in this issue, consider how you can embrace the practice of technology adaptability in these learning technology areas:

1. Talk to Your Devices. Voice-command-driven intelligent assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Assistant, and Samsung’s Bixby are the easiest entryway to exploring artificial intelligence (AI). Ask and you shall receive? Well, that’s if you know exactly how and what to ask.

Make an effort to ask your device a few more questions, and explore the full capabilities of your virtual assistant. It is highly likely voice input will become the primary way in which we interact with all of the technology in our lives.

Quick Tip: Search for a “complete list of commands” for your devices. I use this one from CNET for my Amazon Echo: https://www.cnet.com/how-to/amazon-echo-the-complete-list-of-alexa-commands/

2. Immerse Yourself in VR. The only way to adapt to virtual environments is to get in there and see for yourself. Virtual reality (VR) lets us do things we may not be able to do in real life—such as make mistakes and fail without dire consequences.

You no longer need to be a programmer to create VR, and you can benefit from learning more about delivery options and platforms. Even if you don’t have a VR headset, you can explore immersive environments on your computer or mobile device.

Quick Tip: Try out the tools designed for the K-12 space (i.e., CoSpaces). They make it easy to understand what it takes to design and develop immersive learning environments. 

3. Chat with that Bot. Along with our voicedriven devices, we have access to more and more virtual assistants in the form of chatbots. Chatbots are text-based interactive systems driven by AI. Imagine a personalized assistant that helps you through the new hire onboarding process via text messaging.

Chances are, your learners are communicating via text on a regular basis. Chatbots can text information to learners in their moments of learning need, along with reminders on what do to and when to do it. And they learn from the input they receive from users.

Quick Tip: Language learning app DuoLingo has several virtual language tutor chatbots. Try your hand at a conversation with driver Renee or chef Roberto. Just as they say on their Website: “Practice without pressure!” 

4. Share a Selfie and a Story. Social media is here to stay, and apps such as Instagram and Snapchat are being leveraged as learning platforms. These platforms are ideal ways to add stories and short scenarios to blended learning— yes, microlearning!

Snapchat stories can be used to share learning scenarios on demand and to foster engagement through learner participation in the development of immediate learning content.

Quick Tip: Explore examples of how Snapchat is being used in education to share scenarios and create interactive learning communities at: https://snapchat.education/

5. Leverage Curation Tools. It is not easy to stay on top of every tool and application that shows up on the horizon, so let technology do the work for you. Curation engines let you select topics of interest and then apply filters to narrow your focus.

Curation tools enable us to find and share relevant content. Imagine how your learners can benefit from carefully curated learning content and from participating in collaborative curation exercises themselves.

Quick Tip: Curation engines such as Anders Pink enable you to leverage the power of AI and then add a human touch to inform better search results. You can sign up for a free account to try your hand at curating a topic while learning the ins and outs of curation tools.


Along with these practices, you can embrace technology adaptability by having an open mind and asking your friends and colleagues questions about how they are using technology. Consider hosting an open conversation about technology trends in your sector, with a “show and tell” component. The more tools and applications you can see and play with, the more adaptable you will become.

It is easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of learning technologies, so as you expand your technology adaptability skills, remember to keep that focus on creating authentic learning experiences in alignment with goals and objectives.

Phylise Banner is a learning experience design consultant with more than 25 years of vision, action, and leadership experience in transformational learning and development approaches. A pioneer in online learning, she is an Adobe Education Leader, Certified Learning Environment Architect, STC Fellow, performance storyteller, avid angler, and private pilot.

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