Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Great Technology Resources for Adults Trying to Keep Up with Teens

There are many technology obstacles for adults over 50 trying to keep up with their kids and grand-kids who were raised with computers from their very birth.

Here is a collection of resources that will help adults catch up with their kids and bridge the gap a bit better with regard to technology (in both skills and knowledge):

1) Understanding computers and Internet basics, spreadsheets, word processing,
operating systems, etc.

Training is free from the St. Clair County Library. For an updated schedule of classes, just download the latest issue of their newsletter. It is available at www.sccl.lib.mi.us/libnews.html
-click on the latest issue of the newsletter. The Computer Training Schedule is in the Winter 2008-2009 issue on page 6.

2) Understanding the latest educational technology tools, such as interactive whiteboards, student responders (clickers), computer tips and shortcuts, building Web sites cheaply, using PowerPoint, and finding the best Web Sites for every occasion.

Training on all of these subjects and more is available from the PHASD. We offer trainings at least once per week from 4:15 to 6:30. Classes are available for free to all parents and relatives of PHASD students. Mark Repp is the technology trainer for the District. Check the PHASD Technology Web site: www.phasd.us/tech/Classes.htm for an updated class schedule and a rundown of the latest class offerings.

3) Understanding cell phones, text messaging, blogs, Blu-Ray DVD, HDTVs, and all of the other latest technology news, along with How-To tips and interesting and informative tech news.

All of this information is found at http://www.komando.com/ . Kim Komando writes for the USA Today’s Technology page, as well as hosting her own weekly technology radio show on CKLW on Saturdays from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. Her site is great, and for a yearly fee, you can subscribe to her message board and also download her weekly radio shows in their entirety.

4) Want to learn a particular software program, or how to use several of the top software programs in virtually any particular area? Graphics software, spreadsheets, music, video, word processing, and operating systems such as Macintosh? One of the widest varieties of easy-to-understand online computer video training is available at http://www.atomiclearning.com/

AtomicLearning subscriptions cost $99.99 per year, but it gives you access to their entire site of thousands of video training series on practically any software program you can think of. It is a very quick and easy way to learn what you need to know. Each video clip teaches you something in less than 3 minutes.

5) If you want to join a computer club where people over 40 meet socially and discuss the latest technology every month, you can join C.O.M.P., the Computer Operators of Marysville and Port Huron (http://www.bwcomp.org/). People come from Sarnia and around the county to partake in C.O.M.P.’s monthly meetings the first Wednesday of every month at the St. Clair County RESA (on Range Rd.). Your first visit is free, and after that, it is $30 per year to join the club. There is a Q & A session to ask the experts about your computer problems. Then there is a raffle, then a one-hour demonstration on something of interest in technology. Check http://www.bwcomp.org/ for more info. For those interested in other break-out topics like Web site design and digital photography or digital video, there are SIGs: Special Interest Groups that meet at other times in separate groups.

6) If you want full-color training handouts for free on all of the Microsoft Office software programs, such as Word, Excel, and Publisher, they are available for free at http://www.officetutorials.com/ . Just download the 30-60 page handouts, which are very nicely made and easy to understand. They are free to download and come with examples as well as many pictures to learn from.

7) Maybe you would prefer a one-on-one visit from a computer trainer in your home. Mark Repp, the District technology trainer and consultant, has his own computer business, Tech Tutor and Repair (http://www.techtutorandrepair.com/) and he makes house calls – to help get people up and running with their computers, software, Internet and gadgets. He will make sure your equipment works, and that you know how to use it.

8) Maybe you didn’t know that AARP has a good Computer How-To’s site and a very good tech newsletter. Visit www.aarp.org/computers-howto and sign up, or just read the popular articles on a variety of interesting and helpful topics. AARP also has member discounts on computers and Internet services.

Hopefully these resources and services will help you to gain the knowledge that you need to catch up with your kids. While it may be impossible to learn everything they know, these resources will quickly get you in-the-know at a very small price, and you will have a lot of fun learning while you’re at it.

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