Thursday, February 23, 2012

Learning to use a computer

It may seem hard to fathom that there are people even in the developed world who do not know how to operate a computer. 40/29 News reports that the grandmother of an Arkansas teen who went missing says that had she known how to use a computer, she would have tried to monitor her granddaughter's online activity. The NorthWest Arkansas Community College specializes in teaching the older generation how to use computers. "'How do I get on Facebook so I can talk to my grandchildren? How do I get on eBay and look for an unusual item?' We can give these specific directions and just (start from) the basics of how to turn (the computer) on," says Allison-Shiropshire, workplace education coordinator at the college.

In Canada the Montreal Gazette reports that computers are being used to improve general learning in schools. For example, rather than just reading about photosynthesis in a science class, with a computer simulation you can graphically display the increase or decrease in the amount of light or water to dynamically explain the phenomenon. But the problem with using computers as teaching aids is that while teachers in Quebec aren't very familiar with their use, their students are increasingly computer savvy. Therefore teachers have to constantly upgrade their skills with newer computer applications.
For the general population, computer skills are increasingly important because a lot of official work, like filling out tax forms, is done using the Internet. Libraries in the US offer free computer training, from basics like how to type a letter on the computer, use the internet to look something up, open an email account and use it, update your resume, or apply for that job online. More advanced learning is provided on how to use Word or Powerpoint, how to use search engines, and how to find directions on Google maps. Beginners also need to be guarded on how to protect their identity online, protect their computers from virus attacks, and avoid the spammers, fraudsters, and cheats.

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