Building Blocks for Digital Dexterity in the Workplace

Earlier this year I attended the CAVAL organised Building Blocks for Digital Dexterity in the Workplace seminar. I’ve recently been appointed to our library wide Digital Dexterity group so have got digital dexterity on the brain again. This is a modified version of the report I provided to my team after the day.

What is digital dexterity? Digital dexterity is about having the skills to actively participate in digital society in both work and personal life. One of the main takeaways I got from the day was that it is not necessarily about the technology or the skills, it is about how one approaches learning digital dexterity skills. Many presenters highlighted the importance of having a growth mindset, a willingness to learn and have a go, and then to share knowledge when you have it. You don’t always have to wait to be an expert either, a small thing you just learned is probably also of value to your colleagues. 

CAUL have developed a Digital Dexterity Framework, intended for institutions to adopt and adapt as needed. Along with the framework they have launched a network of champions to develop and work within communities of practice (COP) to develop skills and share knowledge relating to digital dexterity. 

Highlights of the day for me included: 

Kristin Warr Pedersen’s overview of COPs and what factors were likely for a COP to succeed. One of the questions asked after this session that was particularly relevant to my place of work as we adopt a more agile, project based approach to work was “what is the difference between a COP and a project team?” Kristin distinguished between the two as follows:  

    • A project team is brought together for expertise, have a set scope and specific set of deliverables.  
    • A COP does not require expertise for membership, only interest and a willingness to learn, deliverables are not necessarily pre-determined and a COP may have less of a set scope and more flexibility to explore. 

We had an invigorating 5min session of chair yoga before being introduced to, exploring and creating some of our own digital wellness/wellbeing tools. Some of the tools were: 

From the lightning talks I was not surprised to hear that Antje Lübcke’s favourite DigiDex resource is people! A great question from this session was how to meet the right people to help develop skills? Antje felt that it was quite a serendipitous process, I also quite like the idea that someone who requires knowledge of a particular skill having a forum to be able to post “can someone help me with x?” and then a person with that particular skill who was able to teach an individual or group was able to reply. 

There were also some interesting presentations on libraries embedding digital dexterity frameworks in their own institutions, and some great ideas about how libraries were encouraging digital dexterity capabilities for their staff. There was one particular library who held a library staff conference which saw staff create content with green screen, Lego serious play, and participate in a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. 

A hands on session saw us have a go at learning “literate programming” using Jupyter notebooks, which essentially pairs the functionality of a word processor with the concept of an executable code box.  

The afternoon was rounded out by a design thinking workshop, groups were given a problem statement and had to choose one interesting theme about it to develop a solution for. Our team’s problem statement was “people are already experts”, out theme was “how to identify staff capabilities” and solution was a project/working group to develop opportunities for staff to play more with digital tools with the idea being that staff would be able to self-identify strength and weaknesses. We *almost* went with my suggestion of a gamified escape room experience where staff had to demonstrate DigiDex skills in order to progress to the next level.

Check out #MyDigiDex and @ANZDL on Twitter, join the mailing list and see the CAUL Digital Dexterity Community of Practice webpage for more information and to join the DigiDex conversation.

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