Any easy ways to learn computers?

Sat 20 Dec, 2008 12:38 am
My grandpa wants to learn computer and Internet. Because of my job I do not get enough time to teach him. He doesn't want to go out and take classes. Any other easy ways?
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Sat 20 Dec, 2008 01:00 am
Best thing seems to have a task to complete, and keep pounding away at it till you get there. I mean, you're sitting there at four in the morning, with tears running down your cheeks, begging the man made device to do something - anything. A week later, you're calling that same chore "intuitive".
Sat 20 Dec, 2008 10:39 am
My 87 year old father in-law wanted to do the same thing. We set it up so he could access solitaire etc. easily so he could get used to using the computer and playing a card game that he enjoyed at the same time.

Setup easy access to internet and a few sites that he would enjoy. i.e. history etc. After a while he became quite comfortable with it.

Of course, he just wanted to know how to use it....not how it actually works. Wink
Sat 20 Dec, 2008 01:01 pm
Intrepid seems to have the right idea. See what he wants to do. Set up a few basic things that are on the desktop and easy to get to. Then let him explore from there.

The biggest fear I find in older people unfamiliar with computers is the fear they will mess it up in some way so it no longer works. Set a backup point so you can easily fix any problems, tell him you have done that so he doesn't have to worry about it. Make sure you have anti virus and anti malware on the computer so if he does go wandering where he shouldn't he has some protection.
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Sat 20 Dec, 2008 06:01 pm
I was 60 when my son suggested we get a puter for our company, I knew zilch about them-- bought two of em and I just watched my 3 sons who were in the company as well, go tapping away and doing whatever. When I retired some 6 years later I had gone from Zilch knowledge to a 'little' bit.
I then bought a very expensive new puter for home and sat before it, and sat before it, and sat before it. Got a book called " How to use a puter for dummies After I had read it from cover to cover many times I really wished I was a "dummies" so I could understand the book.
I eventually, after trying to throw the puter it out the window many times, managed to switch it on and access Internet ( took 3 months ) still only know a little, but I'm happy with the little I know.
Sun 21 Dec, 2008 08:06 am
My father (he's retired) teaches computers to the elderly (er, fellow elderly; he's 77). Any chance you live on Long Island?
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Sun 21 Dec, 2008 08:28 am
When I bought my first computer, I knew next to nothing about them. I got a computer book, that was all in pictures and cartoons. At first I thought that it was silly, but as I started to learn, I found that the pictures were very simple for me to understand, and I learned very quickly.

I just looked around Amazon for something simple, and I found that the Dummies books have one that is especially for seniors:

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Robert Gentel
Sun 21 Dec, 2008 03:07 pm
Learning how to use a computer just requires curiosity or a bit of bravery. Most people I have seen who struggle with computers lack either or both. They are either not curious enough to try to click something they don't know about to see what happens or they are afraid they'll break something.

So what I like to do when I'm helping someone out is set up their computer so that they can't easily do something bad. So I setup an admin account with a password, then setup a regular account and tell them to only use the regular account. This way, they can't easily do stuff like delete all the windows files and if they get a virus or download spyware it can't do much damage.

Then I setup their desktop. Usability on the desktop comes down to something very simple at it's foundation: options. If there are 100 different things to click on the screen, it's harder than if ther are only the 10 most important things.

So I clean up the desktop. I get them set up so that the only icons on their desktop, their quick launch, etc are the ones they will use the most. I also change any default settings to the most optimum setting for the user (e.g. larger text or icons if needed, lock taskbars etc) and get the user set up for security (anti-virus installed and working, removal of whatever bundled test AV program came with the computer, operating system updates set to automatically update security fixes, etc).

So for example, a while back my grandmother (well into her 80s) wanted to ditch AOL dial up and get DSL. So I set up a gmail account for her and setup Outlook Express to get the email and walked he through the basics. I installed firefox for her, made it her default browser and setup the desktop and quicklaunch icons. I set the home page of the browser to a search engine, and showed her how to bookmark sites.

I also showed her how to listen to her music on Windows Media Player, and to rip CDs, but the ripping CDs part didn't stick.

But all in all, she used it very well. I had it setup pretty cleanly so that the couple of things she already used on computers were easy and accessible, and though she had trouble later with things like ripping CDs or exploring the rest of the computer she didn't have any trouble with the very basics of email, internet browsing, and music (oh, and the couple of windows games she liked playing).
Sun 21 Dec, 2008 03:24 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert- When I got my first computer, in 1999, I was not the least bit afraid. I was so aggressive, that I screwed things up mightily, basically by downloading everything that I could get my hot little hands on. Every year or so, I was obliged to reformat my hard drive, which, IMO, is no fun. I also had Windows 98, which crashed if you looked at it cockeyed.

I have this computer (XP) since 2002. I am much more selective in what I download, and what sites I visit. I have a firewall, a virus scanner, and a spyware scanner, which I use on a regular basis. I keep the computer very clean in terms of deleting unused stuff, and defragmenting. As a result, I had to reformat once in 2003, and have not had to since.

I like the idea of how you handled the computer with your grandmother. For the elderly, often the simplist is the best. I am always shocked about how little knowledge about computers that elderly people have. I had a much older friend, and she would call me to help her with her computer. Most of the time her problems were things that were so minor that I didn't even have to think about how to fix it, but to her, they were insurmountable obsticles.
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Tue 23 Dec, 2008 02:44 pm
My son moved away and left his computer in his room. I was never interested in learning the computer and knew nothing -- not even how to turn it on. One day I got bored and a little curious and started fiddling around with it. Needless to say, I got myself and the computer into some awful situations that I never thought I would get out of. After finally learning a little about it and discovering the internet -- I became fascinated and obsessed with trying to learn by trial and error. It opened up a whole new world for me because I'm a disdabled Vietnam Veteran and housebound.

I'm still no computer whiz, but I have learned how to do many useful and fun things on the computer -- email, word processor, printer, digital camera pictures, exploring the net and about everything that anyone needs to know.

Tell grandpa that there's tons of free computer tutorials available on the net. He can also buy many instructive books.

My son's computer was Windows XP. It crashed. I ordered a new computer on line and set it up all by myself (proud). It came with a Windows Vista operating system. Gacho, mano! (It sucks!) Windows Vista is stubborn, hateful and hard to use. Now I'm having to learn a lot of stuff all over again.

Tell grandpa to just dive into the computer world like I did. He will learn quickly because it becomes such a compelling challenge.

Good luck!
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