It seems sometimes like the best web sites for technology trainers change location every hour. I have trouble locating sites that are persistent and reliable with regular updates and new content. This is a shame, because technology trainers in schools, libraries and community technology centers don’t have time to recreate the wheel every time they teach Introduction to Microsoft Word, when hundreds of colleagues around the world have already written that lesson plan.
Therefore, I’ll periodically search for good computer training resources and write about them here. Look at them quickly, because they might be gone tomorrow.
Visual Tutorials on Technology Basics
In Pictures: I like this site because it answers many of the most common end user questions entirely using screen captures. If someone really wants a textual explanation of cutting and pasting in Word, you can direct them to the help menu, but help menus are often confusing and poorly organized or dry and wordy.
Common Craft’s series of “in plain English” technology videos also meets the need for user-friendly, animated, intuitive explanations of potentially-difficult technology concepts.
Resources for Trainers
Of course the rubber hits the road for computer center managers when they have to organize classes or teach them themselves. Few things in life are more frightening than standing in front of a classroom full of eager students without a clear outline of what you’re going to say. To prevent these moments of panic, teachers long ago hit upon the idea of creating and sharing lesson plans. A few years ago, Enid Costley at the Hibbing Public Library in Minnesota created a series of lesson plans for teaching technology classes to patrons in public libraries. Anyone who teaches in a community technology center could adapt them to classes in that context. In many cases, trainers need a fast, easy, one or two-page handout, and the Quick Reference Sheets at Custom Guide fit the bill admirably. Librarians with Class is as useful blog about training in libraries, though since she gave birth to little Beckett earlier this year, our friend Brenda hasn't had time to post a lot. Our friend and co-worker Kami Griffiths is curating a collection of technology resources and lesson plans at the CTN Bay Area web site.