Monday, March 22, 2010

Get WebWise!

If you are a subscriber to this newsletter, you most likely already know how to use a computer. Howevever, if you know someone who isn't that comfortable using a PC, specifically the keyboard, mouse or the computer screen/monitor, the BBC's WebWise site is a great introduction to using a computer.

I must confess that I am a huge fan of all the BBC Web sites, especially those focusing on learning new skills (languages, etc.), so I was excited to run across this one, especially since I teach the computer classes at the Warrenton and John Marshall libraries.

Start off with Computer Tutor, which is set up in a game show format. Learners visit a "TV Studio" and learn about the skills they will need to compete in a specific game show. Then learners actually practice what they learn in the game show. Learners end up visiting 3 studios and participating in 3 game shows, covering mouse skills, keyboard skills and screen skills.

The Computer Tutor course takes 2-3 hours to complete, but can be broken up into shorter sessions. Just click the 'Return Visitor' button on the start screen or use the skip button to get to where you left off.

After you compute Computer Tutor, check out raw computers, which is broken down into several sections:

  • Basics - Learn how to use a mouse; this may be somewhat redundant to the mouse skills learned in Computer Tutor, but for folks who are tentative with the mouse, this is a fun/cheeky way to get more comfortable with the mouse.

  • Tour - 2 main areas are covered, Getting to Know Your Computer (how to turn on, printing, using digital cameras, etc.) and Introducing the Internet (use search engines, online shopping and registering to use a Web site). Learners can also play games/challenges to practice what they've learned.
After you complete Computer Tutor and the raw computers courses, then check out the WebWise Online Course for details using e-mail and the Internet. Again, some of the content may be redundant to what you've learned in the other courses, but when it comes to using computers and the Internet, practice and redundancy may be the key. Also, this course lloks into keeping safe and online communities.

I'd also recommend reviewing the Jargonbuster dictionary, which provides learners with definitions to common and not-so-common computer terms.

There are other resources on the WebWise site as well, including WebWise Guides, which currently cover sharing media (photos, etc.), watching TV online and getting access. Again, because this is UK-centric, some of the content may not apply to U.S. standards/access.

There is also the Ask Bruce! area where you can view answers to frequently asked questions about computers and the Internet.

For folks who sign up/take the library's Internet Basics course (click here for a list of all the library's computer classes), I'll be sure to send them home with WebWise as "homework."

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