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Computer Skills

Having basic technology and computer skills is essential to be successful in home, career, and school. With the rapid changes in technological devices and programs, it is often difficult for people to keep up with the growing skills they need to function in today’s technology-driven world. Basic computer knowledge has become essential in almost every aspect of education and career development. There is a whole world of opportunity waiting for your students, just a mouse click away.

The first step to being able to offer computer skill training is to secure a location to hold the classes. Ask a local library or school if they will let you utilize their computer lab facility during their off hours. Another alternative is to have people donate computers they are not using to the charity and set up a computer lab of your own. If having a full lab is beyond your reach, secure a computer and hook it up to a video projector. That way, you can use a single computer to demonstrate and your students can follow along on the projection screen.

There are many topics connected to computers so it’s important to understand the computer literacy of your students before you begin the lesson. Sometimes having a short paper quiz is best. That way no one feels self-conscious about being able to answer basic questions. Be sure to include questions that ask students to share their level of computer knowledge and what they wish to learn.

Always cater to the persons with the lowest level of experience to ensure that no one is left behind as the lesson progresses. It may become necessary to break up participants into expressed interest or levels of computer literacy so that people who don’t know basics aren’t grouped together with those that want to learn advanced skills.

Introductory classes can cover a variety of different topics such as:

  • Describing computer hardware: define each piece of equipment and what it does.
  • Discussing basic software: such as operating programs, office software, and internet service providers.
  • Performing basic computer operations: include turning the computer off and on; using the keyboard and mouse; opening software applications; opening, minimizing/closing windows; managing files and folders.

Once you’re sure students have the fundamentals down, you can move on to further demonstrations. These might include teaching them how to:

  • Write and save a basic document
  • Print a document
  • Conduct a basic internet search
  • Write and send an email

By ensuring that participants have a firm understanding of how computers work, you provide them the foundation they need to enter more complex computer tasks like mastering Microsoft Office, the internet, or installing software. The goal of any computer class should always be to equip your participants with the skills they need to succeed in their careers and personal lives.

Some helpful resources for starting a computer skill class include:
Basic Computer Skills Tutorial – Link withonline tutorial to help teach basic skills and provides quizzes to check comprehension
Microsoft Office Tutorial – Link withonline tutorials for Microsoft Office
Senior-Friendly Computer Training – View eight websites with computer tutorial websites that have senior citizens in mind