Friday, August 28, 2009

Integrating Exercises into Computer Classes

All of the librarians at my branch teach computer classes for the public. None of us had any training for this, we needed to learn as we went along. Everyone has their own approach, though we now have standardized class outlines and some pre-made Powerpoint presentations from the ether, we still really need to work and re-work our presentations. I'm always trying to find a way to make sure everyone who attends the classes gets the basic core information for each topic.

Yesterday, I incorporated into the lesson a series of exercises. I basically taught some concepts, then had them open a prepared file that contained practice in what we just did. Except for one man who had on a headset and my have been taking phone calls, (and he missed concepts,) I could see that everyone was working on each exercise, and our floater was kept busy helping them stay on track.

I adapted some exercises I found on the web, and liked how this went so much I'm going to try to incorporate exercises into each lesson from now on. I think it will help everyone be successful in attempting to learn basic computing skills.

The exercises were:

I gave three topics for them to look up in Microsoft Word Help and emphasized that anytime they were stuck using Word, this was a great place to start. It has step by step directions, and pictures.

There was a "letter from camp" that I found on the web. I edited the text of it to include many misspellings and grammatical errors. I asked them to find and correct these using the built in dictionary and talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the dictionary.

A short list of misspelled words and phrases was used for Spellcheck practice. I also had them use this list to practice Cut/Copy/Paste and changing font size, color and type. They learned the big three keyboard shortcuts (in my opinion) Ctrl + A to highlight all text, Ctrl + C to Copy, Ctrl + V to paste.

We went through a step by step exercise on adding Pictures first with built in Clipart, then finding a picture on the web and adding that to the document. People really love this particular thing, and they were impressed that you could re-size the image and rotate it.

Lastly we worked with saving and naming documents. Practice finding and opening them was provided by their searching the folder which contained the exercises and renaming a document they had altered.

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