Monday, 20 March 2017

Nos Premiers Pas avec L'ordinateur

IT Class being taught by Rasmata, Natonia, Franck and Lily.

Our IT classes have been a memorable and successful experience for us as volunteers and for each of our students. Alongside myself there were three other volunteers in the IT classes, Natonia, Rasmata and Franck. The majority of our class had never used a computer before so we had to start right at the very beginning, teaching the class how to turn on and off a computer. As teachers we had to work hard to adjust our work pace making sure to not skip any vital steps in learning the basics of a computer.
By the end of the first lesson, we realised we would be faced with many challenges during our lessons. Natonia and I found the language barrier particularly difficult when it came to teaching and we were often left feeling frustrated and unable to offer any immediate advice or interject to help correct mistakes that our students made. We overcame this issue by learning a few key words in French such as cliquer (click), ouvrir (open) and fermer (close) which helped when observing the students . We also learnt a few words of encouragement such as très bien and excellente to congratulate the students when they completed a task sucessfully. We found that offering a quick demonstration of the task when we didn't have the language was effective as the students could copy and learn through watching.
Over the course of our classes , it soon became clear that the group were of a mixed ability, some proving to be very quick learners whilst others struggled to keep up. For those who learnt quickly, we made sure to prepare additional tasks to stretch them and keep them busy. These students didn't need quite as much supervision so we focused our attention on those who were struggling to help them keep up with the pace of the rest of the class.
One of the main issues we experienced throughout was the lack of computers for each student. Thankfully we were very lucky to be able to use the laptops of other volunteers and team leaders however this still only came to a grand total of three devices. Although challenging, we found a solution, placing three students around one laptop to enable those who were not directly involved to observe and to follow what each student was doing.
Before we started the lessons we prepared userguides for each of the students using photos to show them step by step how to create a folder, open Microsoft Word and save a file. We did this by inserting print screenshots onto a word document and writing instructions in french below each image. We then printed these out for our students to keep in hardcopy. The guides worked really well and by the second lesson all of our students could complete these tasks without referring to the guides.

Userguide showing how to open Documents.
Lily, checking through the Userguide.

As a group we decided that understanding Microsoft Word was essential for the associations as they had expressed a desire to be able to produce formal documents, write professional letters and type using a keyboard for their work. We covered a range of tools and icons on Microsoft Word such as modifying text font and size, bold italics, underlining, inserting a table and inserting a picture from a file. Our students were confident with these tools by the end of our lessons. Furthermore, another aspect that we felt would be beneficial to our associations was the creation of a Facebook page allowing them to promote and share their work with other users online. We set up a generic profile which they could all access using the same username and password and which we hope will serve for future cohorts to help market the association's activities.

A hand drawn keyboard to help demonstrate and explain each seperate key to the class. 

We suggest that the next cohort concentrate on teaching the associations how to use Facebook so that all the members can continue to benefit from this page. It was also suggested that the next cohort could look into creating individual accounts for those members who are generally more active online.

We’ve really enjoyed our IT lessons with the associations and we hope these skills will continue to be revised and progress with the next cohort to come.

Our students learning how to open Microsoft Word. 

Written by Lily Willard 

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