Computer Chaos and Basic Computer Training


By MATP Staff Member Cathy McAdam

I’m not sure there is really such a thing anymore as basic computer training! This may be even more true for those of us using screen reader or magnification software.  Sure you need to back up and be sure the person who used to see well enough to be a two-finger typer, can use the full keyboard, but that’s a whole lot more complex than learning the alphabet.

Computer lingo itself takes a lot of new learning.  I think the visual graphical cues may speed this along without the need to understand all the information and even terminology behind the task.  When teaching some of the basics, family members often have a hard time following because they’ve never used terminology such as a dialogue box to appreciate the options available for printing a document. Or using a combo box to select the day and date in a form…  For a screen reader user these terms become second nature because they are identified in order to know the next step to take to complete the task.

So if you are already befuddled by my explanations, you have dipped into the complexity of basic training.  By their nature some assistive technology necessary for using a computer requires some complex processing and as I age, I better appreciate this.  Today we have so many choices for our main computing and I’m probably using the one that will disappear first, the desk top computer vs the lap top, or a multitude of tablets.   And, everyone becomes an expert when recommending options based on their own usage and preferences. Unfortunately what works for one may not be the best for another especially with low vision which includes font size, color contrasts, cursor or mouse size and shapes and speech options.   Relearning is as complex as starting from the beginning.  Demonstrations can help and trials of software are also useful.

There is online training and videos. including AFB e-Learning Center. The Carroll Center, and Hadley online courses.   You can also try searching YouTube for a specific product/software

One of the best ways to use online training is the buddy system. I strongly recommend finding a computer buddy, group of users, friend, grandchild or other partner.  The only caveat is they must be willing to think out of the box and agree to learn new things with you.

P.S. don’t forget the maintenance issues, for viruses, spy ware.  The beginning user will need support; reason basic computer training may be a misnomer!


do you have a computer buddy?



What do you think? Let us know!