Thursday, February 10, 2011
But making sure they know how to use that tool is just as important.
If not more so.
We recently set up a series of classes at the Bruno Knaapen Technology Learning Center. The classes were more for the parents and adults than our kids.
Trust me, our kids get the computer.
Adults not so much...at least the ones we encountered that night.
And before I go any further, my sincerest thanks to Christina Collazo for doing the English to Spanish translation. The majority of our class that night were native Spanish-speakers and our session would have been a Tower-of-Babel failure without her presence. Thank you Christina.
I went into that classroom with the intention of teaching basic Internet and search skills but as the class started, I realized that many of the things I was saying were being met with quizzical or blank stares.
Focus your mouse and do a ctrl A key combination.
Copy that line and paste it into the address bar.
Bookmark this for later, we will visit this page again.
It dawned on me that this classroom of people, ranging in age from 30-60 didn't have a clue as to what I was saying.
What was intended to be a quick class in how to browse and search turned into a "computer 101" session.
As we spoke to these people, they scribbled quickly on their note pads and as we discovered specific issues or commands that many of them struggled with, we did whiteboard notations, explaining them more fully.
I think what impacted me mostly was the amazement and personal revelation these people exhibited when we showed them simple ctrl A, C, D and V commands. It was like the clouds parted and the angels sang.
Well...not really. I personally did not hear the Hallelujah Chorus that night, but it was close.
So I suppose the main point of writing this is to remind us that we cannot take basic computer skills within anyone as a given. We had one young lady tell us that she had literally typed in entire paragraphs that she wanted to send to someone in an email.
Showing her copy and paste was to her, a miracle. Simple things like demonstrating the scroll wheel on a mouse, implementing mouse gestures in Firefox and additional keyboard shortcuts can mean ending months or years of frustration and open up an entire new attitude in using a personal computer.
Those people were not the only ones to learn valuable lessons that night. I learned that it's the simple things that pave the way to the greater.
Maybe this is a lesson many of us can take to heart.
Maybe there are others counting on us to do so.
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 11:16 AM