MAY 2011

General points

Initiation should be done with little groups : no more then 4 trainees per trainer, as the trainer has to be free at all times to answer each trainee’s particular question and immediately resolve little “blockages” due to hesitating. In fact seniors often take less initiatives and experience hard or software problems.

In any case lecturing is not how we teach. A board is not necessary.

It is useful but not essential to get a “master” computer, connected to a video-projector or “beamer” for theoretical explanations which start sessions or even a general interest question. This part must not exceed 20 minutes during a 2-hour session.

Maximal time of a course should be 2 hours, with a 15-minute break.

You can choose a 90-minute course without a break.

A one-hour course is too short because we “lose” time in starting up or in general sharing about no specific subject. However, this is necessary to enhance convivial social interaction and pleasure.

In fact these seniors trainings are neither professional nor give a diploma. Time spent with us is perceived as leisure or free-time.

The principal aim begins with awareness about the omnipresence of the Internet and computer usefulness during the day, whether it be to communicate with friends or family or to simplify daily life. Therefore, it’s urgent to appropriate or master this tool which will become indispensible in the next few years much like the telephone.

The heart of this initiation is how to use the Internet.

We can not avoid learning about computer electronics, hardware and work environments but this has to reduced to a minimum. We should also avoid too technical or slang language.

If any technical term is used, it must be explained in normal language especially as we often use English words.

It’s desirable to suggest a French-English dictionary for the most common terms.

Trainers need boundless patience. Trainers are generally not too young, meaning 35 or 40 years old or preferably more.

The ideal is to be close to 60 with a good general culture apart from computer science knowledge accompanied by a more technical competent assistant.

It is very easy to mix up paid and voluntary workers..

Sometimes we get volunteers who were trainees who want to practice iby helping the new ones. In this way they can review.

Finally if “the customer is king”, we don’t hesitate to say that some participants are quite self-centred, and in every case if they talk too much about their personal problems or those that are computer-related, we have to stop them with courtesy because of group classes.

Teaching subjects and our part

Our model, for basic initiation, means a general training, composed of 8 classes of 2 hours per week for beginners who often never touch any computer. We organise an information presentation before the first lecture and then feedback at the end of training, during which trainees fill out an evaluation questionnaire and express suggestions, wishes or speak about different subjects connected to the course.

A frequent subject to discuss is about buying computer (price, where to buy, which to buy) or compare Internet access supplier.

Our role as advisor is very important. They trust us. We do not push  them to consume nor spend.  

We simply advise them to buy any Windows OS and find someone who can help or fix problems. We suggest they use open software like Avast or Open Office.

But the main task is to demystify the computer and how to approach it, and deal with anxiety about using it.

We just introduce those that are useful among the thousands of Microsoft functions or “gasworks” or several software options.

Otherwise, although there are several ways to perform such actions, we only display one.

The 8 session contents are mainly :

First : mouse and pad, different clicks: handling with help of a game (solitaire)

Second : connectic hardware - we let pupils connect cables (USB) and open the computer. Presentation of different storage aids (USB key, SD card, CD, DVD) and several peripherals.

Then we familiarize them with the keyboard and keys in typing characters in a simple text editor.

Third : create an  e-mail address with Gmail and explain several basic functions.

It’s important to rapidly start mail during a session. In this way trainees can send each other messages and practice mail reading upon starting each following session.

Writing messages helps trainees familiarize with the key board.

Fourth : Windows environment : desk, icones, windows, bars, tabs.

To make the session more playful, we show interesting websites then they can surf.

Actually you can do it at a previous session to excite curiosity and whet their learning appetites.

To make classes more amusing, they can put any photo at the starting window.

Fifth : Environment again but this time you have to explain how folder and work files work in the file tree or branches; copying and moving. Learn how to organise and research objects.

Sixth : Word-processing

Seventh : Basic principles in searching on Internet and important websites.

Eighth : Global review with corresponding exercises.

General remark

It is important is to give trainees some handouts during the course such as theoretic explanations, tutorials with subject (detailed and illustrated) taking action.

Advice : provide pauses thus giving time to trainees to take notes on handouts.

Finally, at the end of the class; we suggest to look at some videos on Youtube or Google video and others.

Preparing computer used in the class.

Each trainee has to get his computer before each class.

Software used during course must be installed in the same way on each machine corresponding to the handout.

It’s important to fix character size, icones.., soft background, etc …..