View Full Version : Suggestions for teaching old dogs new tricks?

July 17th, 2008, 06:18 PM
Good day sires and....siresses?

My grandad is a volunteer at a credit union, and takes the collections from the front desk. Up until now they've been using old fashioned pen and paper, but they're now switching over to a computer system to take the load off the admin staff and general staff when it comes to registering the customer's input and outgoings, as well as offering new services for customers.

Anyway, what I need is ideas for how to go about teaching my grandad general computer use. He doesn't need any specific skills, he just needs to be able to find his way around, get him used to the keyboard, know which programs do what, etc. He's not an absolute newbie to computers, as he likes to play a quick game of Solitaire every now and then, but he isn't a regular computer user by any means.

I know it's kind of vague, but if you have any ideas about how I could get him up to speed with computers, that'd be great. Unfortunately I can't just stick Ubuntu on his new laptop and have him mess about, as the new system at the credit union requires Windows. I don't want him to have to worry about viruses and all that stuff, so I'll set up all of the necessary security and firewall software.

I suppose what I basically need is to instil a sense of confidence in him when he's using a computer. For the most part he's just relied on one of his kids or grandkids to sort any problems he ran into out, but now that he'll be using the machine regularly, he can't rely on one of us being there to guide him through things.

If any of you have any experience teaching novice users, I'd really appreciate any tips. Any software you know of (for Windows) that are useful when learning how to use a computer would be great.


July 17th, 2008, 07:24 PM
I can only relate my experience getting my Wife to use a Computer.

My Wife was basically scared of Computers, mainly because she had no idea how to use one. Oh, while I think of it, it took me quite some time to stop her switching the Computer off before shutting it down, but that's another story.
I just found a couple of things that she wanted to use it for, which kept her interested longer. She wanted to type and print out letters, she wanted a shopping list with prices, totals etc, and she wanted to import and print photos from a Digital Camera.
So I started with Starting Up and Shutting Down, then opening, closing, minimising, maximising windows. Then how to open the folder where her Pictures would be imported to, then where her letters would be saved. You get what I mean. You just need to guide them to where they want to go in the end. Erm, oh and shouting didn't help much :), you have to be patient and remember that what is second nature to you, is totally alien to them.
To be honest, it took months for her to do what she wanted to do without calling me for help, but most people will get there in the end.
Of course I could be much more detailed, but hopefully this will help a bit.

July 17th, 2008, 09:20 PM
if your dog is over 15 i would not push him too hard.

maybe get a puppy and show him new tricks ?

July 17th, 2008, 09:36 PM
if your dog is over 15 i would not push him too hard.

maybe get a puppy and show him new tricks ?
*Rolls eyes.*
Try this. Show the person that you will be there for them. Teach them the basics, and let them ask as many questions as they want. Give them some clear typed directions for doing things, including every step so that they won't call you a 2AM. If they panic at the sound of "Linux" show them what dos looked like and then what Ubuntu looks like. Things like that.

July 17th, 2008, 09:36 PM
if your dog is over 15 i would not push him too hard.

maybe get a puppy and show him new tricks ?