Sunday, November 11, 2007

Changing Approach to Computer Classes

Teaching computer classes at a small branch library can be quite a challenge. I know from daily interactions with our patrons, that the need is there; due to the demographics our neighborhood, many of our patrons are older and have little experience with the computer or the internet.

There are a few problems we face when it comes to giving instruction. In the first place, we have no meeting or computer room. This means that we have to give our lessons when we are closed, or else boot patrons off the computers when we're open.

Secondly, the computers are placed in such a way as to make the most of our outlet and phone line placement--that is, we have five computers clustered around a central point with dividers placed between the computers to give a bit of privacy. So when the lesson begins, not all of the students can see what is going on up front and I can't see what they are trying to do easily, either.

Third, when we do give a class, the students are at such varying levels of experience and knowledge, that it becomes difficult to keep the classes on target. When one student asks for some help in searching the web, another one asks me how to use the mouse.

Finally, I have a tendency to get sidetracked--I probably spend too much time showing the students cool features on Google, or explaining RSS feeds to students who are still learning how to control a mouse.

What I am doing now is dividing the subject matter up somewhat. I am still doing the basic computer classes, but I am offering tutorials to students who are having problems--or even if they have individual skills they would like to brush up on. And to keep myself from following interesting tangents in these basic classes, I am giving technology demonstrations once a week to anyone who will show up.


MarlaQuack said...

Wow! Rob has a blog. Hi rob.
\o <-- thats me waving.

Rob said...

Hello, Marla. Welcome to my infrequently updated library tech blog.