Hi everyone! Welcome to “Overcoming Challenges.” I am Michelle Kaiser, author of a children’s anti-bullying series of books about a real-life special needs calf named Special Ed, born on our ranch here in Cross Plains, Texas. This series of books is titled The Adventures of Special Ed and focuses on inclusion, kindness, and acceptance. In the books Special Ed faces many challenges because he is different. Today I am going to talk about the challenge of learning technology.
Technology is changing so fast and many of us can’t keep up. This is most true for senior citizens. At Cross Plains Public Library, we offer many services, but only once held computer classes that an outside group came and taught. Those classes filled up and we had a waiting list. We wanted to offer more classes, but no one felt qualified to teach them. Most of us were barely keeping pace with technology as it was. And regarding technology, our saying at the library is, “If you can’t figure it out, ask a 12-year-old.” (Kids just seem to absorb these things, which is great preparation for their future!) So, we continued on, looking for a resource that would help us.
Then the library received a wonderful gift in the form of a grant from AT&T and PLA (Public Library Association). They partnered to launch the Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive Program. This grant gave us the funds to purchase all the tools we needed. PLA conducted a survey and found that “more than 88% of all public libraries offer some form of digital literacy programming. Respondents also reported, though, that the greatest challenges libraries face in providing digital literacy assistance or training relate to staffing, including adequate staffing to start and maintain programs, as well as staff with needed expertise to lead training. DigitalLearn.org was developed to help add capacity for public libraries to meet these challenges.”
After facilitating workshops using DigitalLearn.org, I am so impressed with this website. Although we offered the workshops to assist students in case they had questions, anyone can use DigitalLearn.org at home. Their self-paced modules are suitable for all ages. Each module focuses on a specific task such as navigating a website, using a search engine, or setting up an email account. The modules are labeled with the topic, a brief description of what you will learn, and how many minutes the lesson should take. Some modules take as little as 6 minutes to complete. Most of them are interactive and you can repeat the same module over and over until you feel confident. They even have a certificate of completion at the end of each lesson that you can download and print.
The modules cover hardware, software, and many apps. They are continually updating and adding new modules. You can learn about Facebook, Skype, MyHealthFinder, and using a PC or Mac, just to name a few. There are modules on writing a resume, filling out a job application, and buying an airline ticket online. You can also click on the top right corner of the home page to access “Tools and Resources for Trainers.” This opens more modules including Google products like Chrome, Calendar, and Docs. There are modules on Pinterest, Craigslist, eBay, Netflix, and LinkedIn. You can learn about Microsoft tools, such as Excel, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word, and SO MUCH MORE!! These modules are more comprehensive, with handouts, PowerPoint presentations, and tests included.
I look forward to a module on Windows 11, as Windows 10 is becoming obsolete already. All new computers have Windows 11, so I am sure they are working on that issue.
Even though I have a degree in Computer Management Skills, as a facilitator for the workshops, I have learned things, too. I urge you to visit their website and see all the modules available. You might just find what you need. Of course, there are other tools out there also. Google has a set of free courses called Search Education to help you narrow your searches to find just what you are looking for.
And when you have learned how to navigate a website, visit MY website at www.MichelleKaiserLLC.com to read more about the real Special Ed and check out my resources for keeping kids safe against bullying and cyberbullying.
Join me next time when my commentary will focus on overcoming the challenge of time management. My personal system just might help you out.
Michelle Kaiser and her husband, Jim, live on a cattle ranch in Cross Plains, Texas. She travels to area schools and libraries to share the story of her real-life special needs calf named Special Ed and the antibullying message his life conveys in her writing. Michelle hopes to teach children kindness, empathy, and inclusion in her book series, The Adventures of Special Ed.