I don’t know how many people like those in my title above are reading blogs, including this one. I am hoping that those of you who work with people like this are. As I’ve mentioned in past postings, patrons in my class tend to fall into two categories, those that are very technologically savvy and those that are total neophytes where computers are concerned
There are many reasons why people don’t want to deal with computers. One large group are those who prefer doing what they do rather than spending half their lives figuring out a computer. The first person that had this problem I met years ago. He was a man who wanted to get a job at Home Depot. He knew the type of stock Home Depot carried and how to use it. He as good at explaining their use to customers. Unfortunately he didn’t have a clue about using a computer. Home Depot had just started using computer job applications exclusively. There are many out there like him who simply like working with people and hate dealing with them second hand through a computer screen. If you had a choice, would you prefer your nurse to be a person who preferred working with people or one who preferred a computer. Think about it.
My point? These people tend to be good at what they do. They often have a passion for their profession. When they are suddenly out of work, they are confronted with the fact that they need a computer to find a job and are at a loss. They need more help than just a class about doing resumes or even using computers to find a job. They are barely at square one. Like the book title above, they need to figure out how to turn the thing on. They are either afraid of breaking the hunk of metal they are confronting or wish that they could.
Be prepared to help these people on several levels. Have a list of classes where they can learn really basic computer skills. There are often classes at the local library or high school and at unemployment locations such as CareerOneStop. Try for a combination of both inexpensive and good instruction. Free is even better. Check to see if United Way funds anything like this. The Charles River Internet Center is supported locally by United Way and some of their consultations are free. And don’t forget books, especially those with easy to understand instructions and lots of good, clear illustrations. Many people find following a well put together “how to” book an comprehensible way of solving problems. And dealing with computers is one very big problem.
What is the best way to help people like this? Think about it. They tend to prefer dealing directly with people. Deal directly with them — with lots of personal encouragement. Giving people stories of your own less than stellar encounters with computers helps more than just a pep talk about how wonderful these contraptions can be. The former they understand. They are only going to be convinced of the latter through personal positive experience.
The First Step in Helping Computer Technophobes Find a Job Is Helping Them Learn to Use a Computer
Books on PCs
Levine, Nathan. Typing and Keyboarding for Everyone. 12th ed. Lawrenceville, NJ: Peterson’s, c2002. 652.3 L57T
I like this book best because it is set up like the “old fashioned” typing books we used learn from–spiral ringed at the top so you can keep it propped open as you are practicing.
Miller, Michael. Absolute Beginners Guide to Computer Basics. 5th ed. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2010. 004 M61A
Richmond, Charles Clark. Computers for Klutzes: Basics, Email and Internet—A Familiarization Course for Older Adults. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006. 004 R41C
This is an older book covering older operating systems, but is still good for the basics. If you do have an older PC, the book covers Microsoft Windows XP, ME, 98 and 95. (Personally, I am currently using Windows XP.) There are lots of illustrations and screenshots, making it easy to follow. The book also gives a number of keyboard combinations that can be used as an alternative to using the mouse.
Stokes, Abby. Is This Thing On? A Computer Handbook for Late Bloomers, Technophobes, and the Kicking and Screaming. New York: Workman, 2008. 004.16 S87I
Also included in the appendices: Recommended Websites, Glossary, Resource List, Test-Drive Form (points to consider when purchasing), Index. There is a newer edition coming out in 2012 that we have on order.
Stokes deals both with Macs and PCs and explains the differences between them. This book is nicely organized and well illustrated. Personally I love the explanations from the how to dos to the what never to dos. They are clear and easy to understand for those of us who neither speak nor understand technical computer jargon. As you can gather from the title, there is a good bit of humor sprinkled throughout. I also like the fact that it doesn’t limit technophobes to one specific age bracket!
White, Ron. How Computers Work. 9th ed. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2008. 004.165 W58H
Ron White is an excellent guide to the workings of a computer. The mysteries of computer are well and simply explained until they aren’t mysteries anymore. Full page colored illustrations are provided on every page. (Sometimes it helps to know how these critters work.)
Books on Apple/Macs
Baig, Edward C. Macs for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011. 004.165 B14M
A very good series.
Gorzka, Michael. Mac Computer Basics: Help for the Computer Shy. np: CreateSpace, 2007. 004.165 G68H
A perfect book for someone new to computers or new to Macs. Michael Gorzka takes you by the hand and leads you step by understandable step. When you are finished you will be able to carry out all the basic computer functions down to e-mail and Google searching. He explains how to find an internet provider and how to set up an Internet connection. He also has large, legible text and LOTS of screen shots. It worth taking a look, especially if you feel lost.
Lee, Lisa. Easy Mac Computer Basics: Leopard Edition. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2009. 005.446 L51E