The rise and rise of digital tools

Posted: 03/04/2020

Digital communication tools are not new. For many years, people working in human services and education have been using digital tools to facilitate conversations.

Given that lots of clients and students are ‘digital natives’, and they often feel more comfortable using tech-based tools and resources to communicate, being able to use digital communication tools has become a fundamental part of the work we do.

But all digital tools weren’t created equal.

We don’t want tools that are simply functional. We want tools that open up worthwhile conversations, invite people to reflect and ponder, support them to feel valued and heard, and encourage creative and engaging interactions.

In other words, we want tools that support the kinds of conversations we have face-to-face.

And herein lies the challenge.

How do we use the amazing array of technology available to us, not just to ‘bandaid’ the communication gaps that have resulted from recent world events, but to increase our capacity to work with people in more flexible, meaningful and empowering ways?

This is still an emerging space. However, while the current health crisis presents many challenges, it also offers opportunities for us to find new and creative ways of working, especially remotely.

Our range of digital tools

Innovative Resources has a growing suite of interactive digital resources that can be used to guide, enrich and record conversations. They can easily be used in conjunction with remote meeting tools like Skype or Zoom.

Cards sets now in digital form include The Bears, Self-Care Cards for Home & Work, Anxiety Solutions for Kids, Girltopia, Positive Parenting, No Room For Family Violence, Rainbow Talk, Picture This, Strengths Cards, What Works?, Strengths in Circles, Stones…have feelings too! and A Vision for Supervision. More are being added regularly.

In addition, The Scaling Kit and Growing Well (available soon, click here to to be notified upon release) are also now available as web-based apps.

So how can I use these with clients or students?

In the coming months, a lot of work with clients or students will be done over the phone or using videoconferencing tools. While it is possible to access and use the digital resources on your phone, they work best when the person or people you are working with can see the cards or tools as well.

Many people working in human services are using tools like Skype and Zoom to communicate with people. Once you have access to a digital tool, it is easy to ‘present’ or ‘share’ your computer screen with a person, family or group. (Click here for instructions on how to share your screen in Skype)

You can then work together to choose cards and use the interactive features to add layers of meaning and richness as the conversation unfolds.

You can:

  • swipe through the digital cards, one at a time
  • swipe through a row of thumbnail images at the bottom of the screen
  • bookmark/tag images
  • write, scribble or draw on the digital cards—you may want to circle a relevant statement or scribble notes as a card is discussed
  • add and drag notes anywhere on the images
  • highlight, draw and write in multiple colours
  • take a screen shot and access the image in your photo gallery
  • send the image to the person you are working with so they have a copy
  • print the image and mail it to the person so they have a hard copy
  • save the image in your files as a record of your conversation.

What are some ways of using the digital tools?

If you are meeting with a client, or facilitating groups or meetings using Skype, Zoom or other similar videoconferencing tools, you can use the digital cards and tools in a number of different ways.

You may wish to start by giving the group some time to get to know the cards:

  • The facilitator can put the images onto their screen and scroll through so everyone can see.
  • Point out the different features of the card set including the types of images, the format of the words (if any), the suits (if relevant) and any other unique features.
  • Show them some of the features such as the scribble and text tools.

Deliberate Selection

  • As you scroll through the cards, invite participants to pick cards that jump out at them for any reason. Perhaps it is the image that catches their attention, or some other quality of the card.
  • As the facilitator, you may choose one or two cards to prompt an activity or discussion.

 Random Selection

An alternate way of getting activities started is to select images randomly, for example:

  • Ask each person, in turn, to close their eyes and randomly say, ‘Stop!’ as the facilitator swipes through the images.
  • Or use the timer on your phone set to a chosen interval—5 seconds, 10 seconds, etc. Stop on the image that is on screen when the timer dings.

Many videoconferencing tools allow you to put people into groups using ‘breakout’ rooms. So you may want to invite two or more people to discuss what a particular card means to them, and then come back to the whole group.

Some questions for reflection and conversation

Whether you use a deliberate or random selection method, you can then build the conversation by asking each person to read or comment on their card.

Facilitators can then ask individuals or groups questions like:

  • What does this card mean to you?
  • Have you thought about the topic on the card before?
  • On a scale of 1-10 how important is this to you?
  • Can you think of a time when this card was particularly relevant? What happened?
  • When this is happening, what is the effect?
  • When this is not happening, what is the effect?
  • Do you know anyone who is really good at this?
  • What do they do?
  • What is one simple thing you could do today or tomorrow that would make a difference?
  • How will you notice the effects? (Some people ask for feedback, and others prefer to notice carefully how it feels inside themselves and what the effect is on others.)

The digital resources are easy to download and will work on PCs, MACs, laptops and mobile devices. Once you have downloaded the digital resource, you don’t need to be connected to the internet to keep using it, and you can return and access the products as many times as you like.

Here are some simple steps for downloading and accessing a digital resource.  To see our current list of digital resources, refer to our digital applications page.

Please contact us for support or to talk about multiple licences for your organisation or team.

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