Has PCA ever reviewed PC books...

  powerless 22:06 25 Jan 2003

I ask this becasue my mother wants to send email to family over in the US and shes constantly asking me to do this for her...

I don't mind, but if she had some reference to go by in sending an email it might stop her asking me.

She hates sitting in front of the computer becasue all the buttons, options etc mean nothing to her and they shoudlnt because she has never used a computer before in her life.

She can use the mouse and keyboard ( 'a little bit') and is willing to learn but not from the help files in the programs becasue there so dull to her.

It's a case of me showing here what to do, i don't mind that but if everytime something happens and she does not know what to do she asks me every minute or so to put it right.

I know PCA is in "Plain English" but i think you have to be more plainer, in my mothers case.

So i ask PCA to review some books about basic computing, emails etc.

If you have, then what books did you reccommend?

Or if there was a feature in a past issue, how would i go about getting them?

I've only been reading PCA for about a year and have searched the forums but nothing comes up.

Does anyone know of any books for the very basics of using a computer, email more importantly. The brighter the better...

I have seen some books in WHSmith but at £14 its not something i wish to spend money on if its no use at all.

Any Recomendations?

(Dont say go to night school, umm thats a no no)

  cottager 22:24 25 Jan 2003

A friend in her 70's who has recently decided to use a computer bought the book "How to do anything on a computer" it is by Readers Digest. She found it useful and you can order it let your Mum have a look at it and if it doesn't suit send it back!! The other thing my friend found useful was to get someone to show her how to do a particular task and she made notes.
This she set out large and very simply and she manages very well

  cottager 22:25 25 Jan 2003

Had another thought!! What about the "Dummy" books??

  leo49 22:31 25 Jan 2003

Why don't you formulate simple step-by-step instructions for her? Then sit by her while she tries them out and answer any questions that arise.She carried you for 9 months,can't you spare her an hour or so? :o)

  Sir Radfordin™ 22:47 25 Jan 2003

A few years back I attempted to teach my Mother how to use the family PC. Having never been taught myself I couldn't do it because I didn't know how to do stuff I just did it. If I couldn't do it I couldn't talk someone through how to do it.

You say "Dont say go to night school, umm thats a no no" but can I suggest you think about the option again? My Mother did various intensive office courses at the local college and is now good enough on the PC to use the thing, and understands the basics. She doesn't know what to do when it goes wrong, and still wants to know why it crashes but she can email/surf/word etc without major problems.

And (with no disrespect) my Mother isn't an academic, she trained as a nurse but hadn't worked in 20 odd years as she stayed at home looking after the children.

  spuds 23:09 25 Jan 2003

If you have a PC World store near to you, why not visit it, they always seem to have a good range of books covering various computer subjects.At present they have a 20% off offer on all books. Another suggestion, perhaps visit your local public library and speak to one of the staff, most libraries now have IT facilities or contacts.All my local libraries have staff capable of basic training for the end user.

  BrianW 23:20 25 Jan 2003

I agree with spuds re: the use of the library. From your description I would suggest that your mother needs task oriented training with one to one tuition, with her driving the keyboard. As she learns she should be encouraged to type her own operating instructions (in her own style / language, not "Tech Talk"). You also may find that there is a U3A group nearby that can provide basic PC training for the more mature. You could provide her with some nuts and bolts type "If this happens - do that" type instruction. As a minimum, how to switch on, switch off, open & close e-mail and the "3 fingered salute" for when things seize up. Again, get her to write it up in her own words.

  Becles 23:50 25 Jan 2003

You said night school was a no no. What about flexible learning? You can turn up when you like, stay as long as you like, work at your own pace and there are tutors on hand if you need help. Some courses are free too.

Colleges and Learn Direct centres run courses called 'Computers Don't Bite', They are very basic and start by telling you how to turn the computer on! You gradually build up your skills doing various exercises and you can do them over and over again until you are confident.

My Mam was just like your Mam a few years ago. She's progressed from the basic courses and has completed the CLAIT certificate, some RSA certificates and is currently working towards the European Computer Driving Licence.

It's worth looking into as they have helped my Mam a lot.


  Forum Editor 00:23 26 Jan 2003

Over the years I've been asked this question many times, and my answer's always the same. In my experience there's no substitute for what the training industry used to refer to as "The sitting by Nellie" method. Another human being can teach you something far better than all the books in the world, because you can interact - the trainee can ask questions as they come into his/her mind.

I taught my wife how to use a computer by doing exactly what leo49 has suggested. Each time she hit a snag she told me, and I wrote her a crib sheet. She carried these around with her when she was working, and soon she found that the problems cropped up less often - now she hardly ever asks me anything.

  Forum Editor 00:24 26 Jan 2003

"I tend to agree with leo49" was what I meant to type.

  spuds 14:34 26 Jan 2003

Just found out that my local Age Concern main office have introduced a series of 'drop-in'sessions for people over 50.Perhaps worth checking your local main office. Would not suggest that you try the local charity shop for information, my local one no nothing about this scheme.

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