I love my dad.  Recently, we have been working very closely together on a major project.  During this collaboration, we have had to overcome numerous obstacles on how to better communicate through the use of technology.  My dad is a businessman – very serious, linear, a CFO type.  While on the other hand, I am an educator – passionate, a dreamer, focused on doing things more efficiently and making sure everyone learns through the process.

Currently, we live on different continents; so “collaborating” is no easy task.  Initially, we started out simple:  smartphones, WhatsApp, and phone calls.  Then we progressed to Skype – since there is no need to pay for calls when we can talk for free!  Skype was funny and Dad had lots of questions.  But after the first few times, he quickly became a pro.

The next layer of this digital adventure was teaching Dad how to share his screen.  This way, I could see what he is working on, and vice versa.  To add to the confusion, I have a Mac and Dad has a PC.  So sometimes programs look a little different and we had an issue where he couldn’t remember how to share his screen. When he figured it out, he discovered he has an older version of Skype and needed to upgrade.  I decided it was time to introduce him to join.me.  This ensured that he could share his screen with anyone, even if they don’t use Skype. I walked him through the process step by step and we were equally impressed with the ease of being able to share a document and work through our thoughts together.

To complicate the above, I created a shared folder in Dropbox and excitedly invited Dad to join.  That process is pretty simple and seamless.  Every time Dad would change a document, add or delete content, Dropbox would notify me as it was running in the background on my computer.  As soon as I would get the notification, then I would receive an urgent text from dad asking: “Can you see the document?  Please advise”.  I get it, he wanted to make sure it was there.  It’s all part of the learning process.  He no longer asks me if I can see the document as he has become more comfortable with the use of the program.  Good work Dad!

Our next task is finding an online project management tool and we are open to suggestions.  Stay tuned for more on this and other stories of adventures through digital learning and collaboration.