Joanne Gore_printmediacentrBy Joanne Gore

When was the last time you learned a new technology? I mean truly played with it and embraced it for all it was meant to be. Perhaps you recently upgraded to a new cell phone/smart phone/mobile device. Or your bank re-designed their portal and now you don’t know where to find your statement. Or perhaps you have been told that you need to learn a whole new accounting system because the company is moving to cloud-based solutions.

Whether it’s work-related or personal-related, the fact is that every day we are confronted with something new to learn and integrate into our daily lives. Consider this: according to Portio Research (March 2013): 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps at the end of 2012. This is forecast to grow at a 29.8 percent each year, to reach 4.4 billion users by the end of 2017.

Things have changed a lot since I was in grade 6. But none so much as the use of technology. The other day my son showed me a project he had just completed. He had done his research on the Internet, taken notes using Word, and created the project in PowerPoint. Yup. PowerPoint.

I have to admit, my initial expectations were not high.  After all, I use PowerPoint all the time. I have fought with the program on more than one occasion and admittedly, I am often NOT the victor! But in the battle, I have learned new techniques and even a few shortcuts.

Powerpoint_printmediacentrBoy was I in for a shock. Aside from some typos and grammar errors (did I mention that the project was entirely in French?) I was completely blown away. His transitions were smooth. He had incorporated special effects that I didn’t even know were possible. And it most certainly did not look like a project done by an 11-year-old 6th grader!

He “broke” a lot of “rules”. Each slide had its own unique look and used different fonts and colour palette. He didn’t know that you’re supposed to develop a template and then use that template to pour all your slides into. And then go back and check that all the headers are the same font and weight and perfectly aligned. And that all the bullets should be consistent.

He just did it. And it was fantastic!

After he had finished he asked me if he was “supposed to” have made all the slides look the same. I thought long and hard about that. I wondered if he had followed that approach would his project have been nearly as interesting? Would his audience be as attentive to his presentation?

As adults, we are so often bogged down by fear of “doing it wrong” that we forget that that is, in fact, how we best learn. By trying. By making mistakes. By playing. And by not fearing that which we are attempting to embrace and master. 

Here’s another interesting stat to consider: 47,000 iPads were sold to schools in the US within the first 45 days of iPad sales. – See the full infograph:

So the next time you need to learn a new technology, or app, or device…or you simply need to create a presentation…you may just want to ask a 6th grader to teach you!

About Joanne Gore

Joanne Gore has nearly twenty years of marketing and communications experience, including corporate and small office environments. A true mentor, Joanne marries her passion for marketing with clear, creative feedback and inspiration. Joanne develops lead generation and conversion programs, re-brands product lines, implements social media strategies, manages PR and media relations campaigns, overhauls websites, develops highly targeted marketing campaigns, and delivers results.

Joanne is an industry speaker, currently sits on the board of Xplor Canada, and is a regular contributor to “News from the Printerverse”. She is also a returning mentor for the Richmond Hill Small Business Enterprise Centre’s Summer Company, an Ontario Government initiative for youth entrepreneurship & employment.

Joanne graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.


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