Imagine that you have been given a brief to create some poetry resources, but doubt hits. How do you set up a strong feeling of connection for your participants using technology amidst coronavirus restrictions, and how do you overcome any potential technological issues?
As you have probably all experienced on a personal and maybe a professional level, technology is extremely helpful. However, it must still be employed with an understanding of the context that it is being used in and the purpose that it is being used for. In my case, this also required knowledge of what kinds of problems the technology was attempting to solve. Essentially, deciding the best platforms to present my material from to allow maximum engagement, and connection for producing an online workshop, was a complicated problem: it required certain expertise and had multiple solutions (Snowden and Boone, 2007; Cormier, 2012). Despite this, there was also a complex problem when examining what technology to use. Snowden and Boone (2007:online) suggest that complex problems occur when a large change creates ‘…unpredictability and flux.’ The uncertainty of a global pandemic has caused debate about what people emotionally need to join together in this time of great unrest. So, this shift in lifestyle has been tough. Therefore, we have all had to search hard for how we can use technology for effectiveness and engagement.
Furthermore, my concerns about technology were also personal. For example, you would be frustrated if your Zoom chat (and similar) was very unreliable, but you felt that this was the best way to bring participants together! Such technology is live, so it would have ensured that people could converse and that I could guide everyone through my ideas effectively.
Therefore, my research into the best solutions to my technology problems and questions led me regularly to check my Slack account for updates in the Poetry for Wellbeing thread about the many platforms available. I then conducted my own search on the ones which I knew little about or had never encountered before. I also thought about the appropriateness of certain platforms, based on the complicated and complex problems (Snowden and Boone, 2007; Cormier, 2012) which I was trying to solve. As some of you may know, the choice can seem overwhelming!