Monthly Archives: August 2018

Tech is for Everyone

I really do believe that there are roles in technology for anyone. And given the supply vs demand problems in the field I think it would be great if I was right.

Meanwhile, a friend who has been a restaurant server most of her life is thinking about what she can do other than waiting tables. If ever there was an anyone it is her. And if I succeed then more women in tech! Double win.

Today we had our first hang out. The very first thing I tried to figure out is what sort of learner she is. I enjoy teaching in part because I enjoy learning and so I’ve done a bit of reading about how people learn.

There are between three and nine learning styles depending on who you ask. There is:
[audio, visual, kinetic],
[environmental, emotional, sociological, physiological, psychological],
[visual, musical, verbal, physical, logical, social, solitary],
[visual, auditory, kinesthetic, abstract, concrete, contemplative, active, macro, micro]
[visual, kinesthetic, auditory, stress, ease, scribble, trust, teach, copy]…

Like all categories & taxonomies there are overlaps, nuances, different angles, and entire schools of thought. Which one is right doesn’t matter. It’s what you can do with the knowledge gained from knowing about the options.

So I asked her about how she learned best, what ways meant she’d remember & which ways she forgot. I assured her that none is better than the other that I just wanted to know so I could make sure to share videos not articles or vice versa.

My student learns best from being shown, second best from doing something herself, and third best listening to people. Reading just never sticks.

She doesn’t have a computer of her own so I sat her down in front of mine. I taught her to recognize the symbol for the power button and a bit about user accounts. I explained that she couldn’t save anything on my computer but that was ok because she could save everything on the internet in the “cloud” which was a collection of vapor that was her stuff.

She has an email account that she never checks with a cute nick so we created her a gmail with her real name which will be her professional email address. She liked the idea of having her personal life separate.

I had her set up a lastpass account to keep track of all the future passwords. I showed her how to get at passwords there. What good passwords are made of.

I showed her how emails can be upper or lower case, that periods are ignored, and + can give you extra words. How to tab through a form or a page or links. How to ctrl-t to make a new tab, ctrl-a to select all, ctrl-c for copy, and ctrl-v for paste but who knows what v is for. She got overwhelmed. I promised a cheat sheet.

It all took an hour and a half. I served tea. I chatted. We talked concepts like lastpass being a safety deposit box and how if she was a rich executive who had a ton of credit cards to keep track of it might be a good place to put the numbers but for every day people it was enough to just use it for passwords.

We finished when we felt done. She has two homework assignments:

  1. Get a library card to get free access to training videos on Lynda.com
  2. Write down on paper what she thinks she knows about computers, why she wants to learn more, and a general introduction. She’s going to blog!
Categories: geeky, teaching, women in computer science | Tags: | 2 Comments

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