How-to "help" someone use a computer.

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enxio27
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby enxio27 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 11:41 am

I think I'm going to print this out and re-read it every time my mother calls me with a computer problem.

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PatH57
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby PatH57 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:25 pm

my 2 cents,

everybody knows something about computers nowadays and will try to fix it before asking (even my mother)
Be clear and ask again, avoid technical mambo jumbo or sending

Code: Select all

sudo whatever
before checking what the level of understanding is.
Everyone seems to know what memory is and then again and again I hear "I'm running out of memory" when it was disk space...
Linux, windows,unix,MacOS each use a different language. It is all English but so many dialects... and when you start getting fluent in one you tend to forget that others aren't.
People disagree with me. I just ignore them.
(Linus Torvalds, regarding the use of C++ for the Linux kernel.)

Please Add [Solved] to the topic-title of your first post when appropriate so others know they might find a solution here.

gingertom5005
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby gingertom5005 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 1:01 am

I do quite a bit of one to one teaching with older people, often in their seventies and eighties and have been fairly successful with all my students. I have found that it helps to find either what games they like or what their favourite shows and TV series were. Get a seventy five year old onto Youtube and if they love (say) Dr Finlay's Casebook etc their motivation and ability to absorb information and navigate menus seems to increase exponentially. I like the general understanding of posts that the student needs to be doing rather than watching.

Maggie777
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby Maggie777 » Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:08 am

Hi
I have taught two students to use computer.
It's a step by step procedure
first you need to know how much your students already knows about computer. After that you need to start
I usually start with computer hardware. I believe by taking computer classes you can learn more. A person can learn computer if he / she try using them on daily bases.

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ganamant
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby ganamant » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:01 pm

PatH57 wrote: "I'm running out of memory" when it was disk space...

So true. And the fact they call solid state storage cards "memory cards" certainly doesn't help on this issue. I've even heard some people speaking of RAM as a metaphor for storage space in thair minds to remember things.

benem
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby benem » Wed Oct 28, 2015 1:03 am

Just keep in mind you have to take a long time to help someone to do something on their computer, that will make you more patience :D
In my true story, I forgot some necessary files in my own computer at home, and call my older sister send those file for me. Just an easy task? Yeah but it take me about 1h :(
Last edited by karlchen on Wed Oct 28, 2015 3:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: removed link to unrelated external website

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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby Palladini » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:38 pm

I am one of those people who sit down on any computer, fix it and have it running better in few hours. I can also open any program and within 5 minutes be using it like a pro. My earliest days of computer started before the Vic 20 and BASIC computer language, in fact I did do punch cards at one time. I should be teaching home computer use.
[b]I love Linux[/b]
New user, not programming smart, last program language I learned was called Basic on a Commodore 64

lmintnewb2
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby lmintnewb2 » Thu Apr 13, 2017 9:44 pm

I prefer old school proven methods, aka pain and violence. Every time they screw some tech task up, hit them on the soles of their feet with a 2x4 a couple times. :)
The most powerful free tech-support tool the world has ever known. > HERE <

Veerstryngh Thynner
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby Veerstryngh Thynner » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:35 pm

I was in my mid-thirties, the first time ever I touched a computer. A clunky, massively heavy desktop with DOS on it. From then on, I moved through all MS Windows incarnations (except Vista), until Windows drove me virtually bonkers. At that point, a friend introduced me to Linux and kindly installed Ubuntu 3.10 on my then desktop. And the rest is history, as they say.

Still, I never had a teacher of the quality of the one who initiated this thread. So even though I have been on Linux for quite a while now, I still feel a beginner. When I grew up, computers were still a distant dream, you see. Something brought up in science fiction movies or novels. Not an everyday household item as today. Computers fabulously expensive, in those days - and thus only within reach of governments and wealthy corporations. Their size usually required a lot of space, too - and all they were capable of, ultimately, was churning out large packs of printed paper.

I missed out on the experience of 1990s' and early Noughties' kids growing up with a home computer within arm's reach. Practically from the cradle onwards. And in that context I ongoingly find the jargon often bandied about in forums like these extremely off-putting. It never really caught on. And it never really will, I'm afraid. Maybe because I'm part of a generation that never enjoyed the same privilege (if it is one).

Computer jargon seems purposely designed to separate the chaff (the ignorant) from the corn (the cognisant). Moreover, it doesn't leave any leeway for VISUALISATION. Like, indeed, the connection between a button pressed and what's happening on the screen. Do these people ever realise how difficult it is, for some, to move away from abstraction? So yes, I DO indeed feel stupid, after reading the same three lines at least ten times and still not grasping what these mean. Much the same as with cricket terminology, for instance. That has a similar effect on me. It's English alright, but of a sort I'll never be able to make heads or tails of.

I'm still a learner - and bound to remain one for a long time to come. But I doubt if I'll ever completely get to grips with Linux, before I die. My learning comes in small, incremental steps now. Not in big leaps any more. Yet my "ignorance", publicly displayed in forums like these, often meets with great impatience. Anger even. And this regularly discourages me from asking at all.

More usually, though, common sense takes me some way instead. But otherwise it's ploughing through ever more impenetrable gobbledegook, online, and, in the end, being left with no other choice, sometimes, but to try and live with whatever the fault on my system is.

Veerstryngh Thynner

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wutsinterweb
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby wutsinterweb » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:17 pm

I often, on such significant topics as this, write long texts (what some mistakenly call "walls of test" where a wall is no punctuation).

I am here right after leaving another forum I've been on for years. There are 3 members of that forum that have been very abusive and accusatory towards me, for instance, I'm not employed but seeking employment. In the mean time, I've been studying on my own and trying to learn all I can of Linux and some other tasks within a particular scope for hopes I might work in a certain area. Well, one guy said he could have helped me get a job and would have, but implied that I was lazy and that I wasn't trying to better myself/make myself better, and that I wasn't taking any steps towards any goals. That was the worst thing he could have said to me, because it was outrageously untrue.

I don't have money for groceries and yet still have spent some money on online computer classes. I don't have a car, but nevertheless I've applied for many many many jobs, about 60 applications and tests and questionairres in the last 5 months.

I've read through some books, bought books, spent hundreds of hours searching online for answers and reading numerous forums, and in the process, even tried helping others. But no, I am lazy and not trying to better my lot in life?

It blows my mind how people with good and big jobs assume a lot about poorer people and less trained people.

At my college years and years ago, and what a great school it was, we were taught repeatedly and exhaustively on making well thought out procedures that could teach someone else, even a 5 year old, how to build a laser pulse forming electrical network, for instance. We would all get F's and be told to rewrite our labs as many as 5 times until we got it right. In college, tough love at the right times, builds strength, resourcefullness, character, patience, and will power (and confidence). But when we help people on sites and in person, we aren't college professors teaching a vocation, we are neighbors and we must NEVER make assumptions about another person's comitment, determination, effort, and will power.

I just couldn't take the abuse in that other Linux forum any longer. I've been studying hard and pushing myself, but I am "lazy" and I'm "not making any effort to better myself". Sheesh.

We ALL sometimes get annoyed with noobies and sometimes assume they are being lazy or dumb, but that might NOT BE the case. Food for thought. If you are going to help, commit to helping no matter what, if it irritates you, go make love to your wife or play with your kids and leave it to other, more kind people, to help the person.
I want to learn!

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wutsinterweb
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Re: How-to "help" someone use a computer.

Postby wutsinterweb » Mon Sep 18, 2017 2:31 pm

I want to say something more: The studying and work at college that I did writing procedures led to doing it at jobs. I've developed some good skills and writing procedures. Most highly technically capable people are not highly capable of communicating procedures, their brains don't work "that way" if you will. It's a skill that can be trained into good technical people.

Over simplistic example of being explicit and not assuming:

"step one, plug in the laser"

No, that isn't correct, but this is closer:

Step one, the laser device requires being powered. You will need to provide it power. To do so, look for a cable with a #xxx plug, see photo. Careful to not touch the bare metal of the plug's connectors, the metal bars, search on the laboratory well for what is known as a power receptacle, see photo 2a below. Insert the plug into the receptacle and if you are uncertain of any step here, either seek a lab tech's help or please review text number xxx to learn more on the topic of powering a laser.

Ok, that is an EXTREME example, but we had that sort of thing drilled into us as students. Good procedures make few assumptions and fully recognize their audience's skill and familiarity level.

I am taking some udemy classes and some are very poorly done, the teachers don't teach well because they don't do the above things. Don't ASSUME stuff, that's the take away here. Don't assume things about the person OR their understanding, and above everything else, be KIND and DELIBERATE. When you reach an impasse, don't dump the student, seek others to help you teach, teaching is a team sport.
I want to learn!


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