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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Ten Tech Skills That Everyone Should Have: Part One

This post is based on a blog that I read online a while ago. I thought it had some helpful tips, so I have edited it and added a bit of my own stuff. It was written by someone who was thinking about what students need to learn about using technology in school. We are all long passed school, so I wonder how many of these skills you feel comfortable with? Here is the URL of the post it is based on:

Do you know how to do an

effective Internet search?

Common Craft videos are a great, simple and fun way to learn things about technology. This one is about searching. It does have some extra words on it to protect people from downloading and using it because they make their money from people who subscribe to use the videos.

Common Craft Video on Web Search Strategies

Do you know how to create, edit, and save

documents, spreadsheets and presentations?

These are common uses for computers. Almost everyone knows how to create, edit and modify documents. There are many people who are unsure of themselves when it comes to spreadsheets or presentations. Most people use Microsoft Office to create documents, spreadsheets or presentations. 

There are other low cost and even free options now. Open Office is a free product that is very much like MS Office. You can download it for free and try it out. When you save your document you have to tell it that you want it to be a .doc so that anyone can open it. Otherwise it is automatically an Open Office document and can only be opened with that program. When I downloaded the newest operating system to my Mac none of my Intel programs would work. MS Office was one of the casualties. I have downloaded and used Open Office and it takes the place of word just fine. I have not tried it for presentations.

Another possibility is Google Drive. It used to be called Google Docs and was upgraded to Google Drive. The difference is that you can download a program to your computer so that you can access your Docs even when you are offline. A future post will have more about Google Drive. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet and a presentation software and some other things. All of your documents are automatically saved and you can even share them with other people and work on the same document collaboratively.

Do you know how to get help when you need it?

Recently I have learned that you can find answers to almost everything by just going to Google and typing in what you want to know.  I am soon going to do a post on maintaining your computer and so just to be sure that I don't miss anything important I am going to go to Google and type "computer maintenance". In the first page of links I will probably find links to some very helpful pages. The main problem with this approach can be that you do not understand what they are trying to tell you. If that is an issue here are some links to other sites that may be helpful.

This site is a lot of fun. It is posted as a letter to your parents where you send them videos about things that they may need to learn. You fill in all of the blanks and then press the PREVIEW button at the bottom and it takes you to where you can watch the video. This is a great way to learn and there are lots of choices of videos.

Can you type?

For the longest time I have been told that "soon people will not need to type because they can just talk to their computers." This has been possible for a long time and maybe sometime we will get used to doing it. Until then it really makes a difference in how fast you can get something done if you can type. Here are a few free programs you may want to try:

Typing Tutor - This one has games

If you want to pay for a great program my favorite is Mavis Beacon. There are many others. Just do a Google Search!

Do you know how to use Social Media

(Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc...)?

There is so much to learn in this area. It is like an explosion. The Internet used to be static, meaning that it basically stayed the same. You could not change anything on the Internet. Now everything has changed. You have the power to add, comment, post, and change many parts of the Internet. The most popular is Facebook. Many people have gone to using it as their main way of communicating with other people. There are also many more. I am adding links to many of them. It is not the purpose of this post to explain how to use them all. If you would like me to write specifically about one of them or a part of one of them (more than I have in other posts) please let me know.

I have run out of time for this posting, so I will have to do the second five in the next post. Let me know what you think I may have missed and what you want to learn about!

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