In class someone asked about printed manuals for learning the Mac. David Pogue is very good at explaining the basics of the Macintosh system. I found this book used (for Leopard) on Amazon for .80. Make sure you look for the version that corresponds to your operating system (Leopard – 10.5, Snow Leopard – 10.6, Lion – 10.7.
Finder – System Preferences – Keystroke Commands – Survey of Interest
Tonight we are going to get to know one another and take time to learn to navigate through programs and menus. The purpose is to get us on the same page for running programs together. This evening will also give me a chance to gauge your interests and set the stage for future sessions. In the process of navigating through the programs I would like you to highlight your particular interests for deeper investigation.
There are 15 people in the class with a diversity of interests and needs. Add to this each of you has a personal computer. Your personal computer has an operating system and set of programs that are different than your classmate. I need to understand what you are working with and how familiar it is to you.
The Finder, Dock and Menu (top of the screen) will be our guide on this tour. We’ll learn various ways to do the same operation since there’s more than one way to do it (TMTOWTDI).
Throughout this and future sessions we will change the rhythm of our activities alternating between:
Demonstration – Exploration – Play – Practice
As we begin, I would like to offer some general principle’s that may be useful to you in practicing your computer.
We learn by doing. There are different modes of doing. The best approach is to mix these. The most pragmatic mindset is a playful spirit.
1. Random exploration. get messy and see what happens. You might want to take note of your steps along the way. This will help you get back.
2. Logical – sequential. Clear goals can help you to find and use the right tool for the job. You may want to simply use what you already have on your computer or do a search: What do you want to accomplish? Find a few tools that will satisfy the goal. This may take some research, asking friends, playing around with a couple top choices.
The best solution is not always the fastest solution. The benefit of a computer is realized after setting up a process (workflow). This may become evident after “messing around” a while or after getting frustrated with your original workflow.
- In order to accomplish a task you may have to go back a few steps. Starting over is sometimes the best solution to a problem.
- We often don’t understand a program until we’ve “broken it”.
- Tinkering (turning things on and off and that sort of thing) can help you gain perspective.
Computers lend themselves to sharing and group support. This may be face to face or virtual. We have an opportunity to explore the face to face model in this class. I have started sharing some virtual resources in Diigo. We can explore other web tools in the course of our time together.Because technology is so mult-faceted there are no experts. There is always someone who knows more. Sometimes the best support comes from someone who knows just a little more than you. They can relate to your need more effectively. I expect to learn new tricks from you.
The only sure way to understand some-one’s computer problem is to watch them perform the task, step-step. Therefore I may ask you to repeat a problem for me so that we can understand what occurred.
Thanks for participating!
To learn about VoiceOver open System Preferences -> Universal Access.
When you turn VoiceOver on you will be given a prompt to “Learn VoiceOver”:
Tomorrow I will begin teaching a basic mac laptop class. I will be using this site to organize some of the resources for students. I encourage students to contribute their own questions, requests and resources.