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Talking it over - Computer technology

As one generation embraces each new change in technology another generation is just trying to learn the basics. I have visited with several members of my generation and older who have decided it was time to learn more about computers and taken the plunge to purchase one. They soon learn that the purchase is the easy part. They then face the monumental task of learning how to operate it.

Those of us who have worked with computers for a number of years are quick to say "there is nothing to it". However, the truth of the matter is that learning to operate, sign in and out and just plain figure out the terminology surrounding computers is kind of confusing to a newcomer.

I have had the opportunity to try to teach a few of my fellow generation about the ins and outs of running a computer. Most of them just want to know how to check and send emails and search for things on the internet. To those who have no idea what an inbox, search engine, password, user name, web site and googgle is, the process can be quite confusing.

We sit down and slowly go through each step with the new pupil taking notes. There are usually several questions along the way and some very confusing things that happen like ads popping up unexpectedly and sites disappearing for no reason. These things are frustrating for the computer literate but challenging for the new learners.

One of my biggest recommendations is to keep trying. Regular computer use leads to new knowledge each time you work with it. My husband has struggled to catch on for quite some time and I can proudly say that he is finally catching on to many of the ways it can be used. I tell others that if he can learn it, so can they.

Computers are the biggest way to communicte and gain knowledge. Many of the things once done in person, now must be done through computers. Applications, orders, photos, letters, documents, and regular correspondence are just a few of the things now done through email and web sites.

As my generation continues to struggle to learn all the new things related to computer technology, I have to wonder how the younger generation would have fared in our age. Would they have been able to figure out some of the basic things we did each day. Could they have worked through a math problem without a calculator, sent a letter without typing, or placed phone calls strictly from one location in their home? You had to communicate prior to going someplace and set up meeting times. If someone was late, you waited for the explanation until they arrived. Thoughts couldn't be communicated immediately. Instead you kept a list or tried to remember to share it later. Nothing was instant. You waited for everything.

Despite what might seem like a big challenge, I encourage people of all ages to learn as much as they can about computers. It is an important part of our lives and our future. Denying this knowledge would have been like refusing to learn to drive a car years ago. You may be able to get by, but life is much easier once you learn.