Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Effort Breeds Success: A Computer Class Update

It has been a long time since I have mentioned my computer class but I thought, after an unprecedented class today, that I should share.

This week we were working on typing actual documents. This is a step up from the usual typing tutor programs and practice sheets we have been doing. The way I set up today's session was that I sat with each person yesterday and we hand-wrote a letter or worksheet that they needed for a project they were doing. The type of document we were going to create obviously depends on what they are working on or the nature of their individual work but all was actual things that needed to be completed. Basically, we were "scaling up" the quality by learning how then finalizing the work on the computer (which could now be printed on-site because my Mom brought the necessary cables that we were missing before - thank you Mom!).

Each person who signed up for today's class (three people) signed up for time slots so I could work with them individually. The first slot was at 11:30am, the second at 12:30, and the final at 1:30. That gave me an hour with each person to show them the formatting (since this was their first time working without a template) and help them through the process. Here is where things to a turn for the exciting...

I sat down with the first person and she informed me as she turned on the computer that she had studied the reference material I made and wanted to show me without guidance (unless, of course, she got stuck along the way). She was able to go through the entire sequence - opening Word, changing alignments and font and the like - without my saying a word! We were done within 30 minutes with huge smiles on our faces!

To my surprise, the second person was already at the center with her hand-written document ready to be transferred to the computer! She was early! This was a historic day, as finding someone that "keeps time" is difficult to say the least, let alone e-a-r-l-y! We sat down and worked through her document - an Excel sheet - with relative easy considering its complexity. Her being ahead of schedule even allowed us to go over a few other things that I hadn't showed her before. She stayed beyond her session to practice.

Finally, the last person showed up for her session. She had a goofy grin on her face and told me that she was very proud of herself. She opened up the "My Documents" folder and proceeded to her individual folder when I went to correct her that we were starting a new document and needed to open Word first. She ignored me, giggled, and continued on. Double click and up comes a Word file with a completed document. I looked in surprise and saw that she had already finished typing up her document intended for today's session! I was speechless. She went on to tell me that she came in to the office early today because she was eager to try the exercise and that she decided to be brave and try it. She confessed to needing to use the reference material a lot (which I explained is why it's there) but that she was able to do it!

Three computer sessions, three different students, one unbelievable result. They have gotten to the point where they are able to do the work themselves. Yes, they often get nervous and lack confidence in their abilities but they are there - they can do it. And what's more is they are motivated to learn and grow (and be on time). I was quite literally exploding with happiness and so proud of them for their accomplishments and for the effort they put forth. This is a Peace Corps win in my book.

No comments:

Post a Comment