ECO Participants Learn Computer Short Cuts & How to Relate to Grandchildren Through Technology

By Lyndsey Kleven

It is imperative in the world today that every person has a working knowledge of computers and the Internet–no matter what the age demographics may be. Whether you have limited computer skills or no experience at all, learning what computers and the Internet have to offer can add convenience and opportunity to your daily life. Now is the right time for any Ohio adult who is interested in learning these skills.

Three participants of the Every Citizen Online (ECO) free computer training program (aka Computer Don’t Byte), all of which completed training at the Warren County Career Center, say they wished they had done so sooner. The three participants varying in many ways: age, reasons for registering, and their computer skill levels. But each left the training with a better working knowledge of technology.

Philip Robison went into the training with a very limited computer background. Robison is 81-years-old and felt that even turning on the computer was too difficult a chore if you didn’t know what you were doing.

“Using a computer is easy for my grandkids, but I’m 81-years-old and do not absorb (the skills) as well,” said Robison. “I took the classes as a challenge and to try to understand what my grandkids are talking about. It’s hard to get through to them when they are on their computers.”

Robison is considering buying a home computer, but did not want to buy one without knowing how to use it. He enjoyed the classes and plans to take them again in order to absorb more information the second time.

Mary Bittelmeyer signed up for the training with a basic level of computer knowledge and wanted to improve her computer literacy.

“It’s hard to exist in the world today without knowing something about computers,” said Bittelmeyer when asked why she signed-up for the free training classes.

The thing Bittelmeyer enjoyed learning most from the classes was computer short cuts and how add attachments to e-mails.

“The instructor would show us how to use a certain key, and then it was like a light bulb went off,” said Bittelymeyer. “Learning what keys would trigger commands was very beneficial and timesaving.”

Bittelymeyer said the instructor was excellent and able to help everyone in the class by starting with the basic foundation skills for new computer users and building to further advanced skills.

“No matter what the instructor was saying or teaching, she would immediately explain or go back over a topic if someone had a question,” said Margaret Harsacky, fellow Warren County ECO participant. “The instructor was able to create a friendly group environment, while really providing individual attention to those who needed it.”

Harsacky had previously taken a computer course over a decade ago, but forgot most of what she learned when involvement in other activities started to take priority. Although she has Internet and a home computer, she found herself not using the computer as frequently.

“My husband took over the computer usage, taking care of e-mail, finances, and storing important files,” said Harsacky.

Now that Harsacky is 89-years-old, she realized it’s time to rediscover what she had learned before, in case she would ever need to assist her husband. Harsacky has been practicing what she learned at home with her husband’s help and once she progresses further, plans to take the ECO class a second time.

In addition to these three ECO graduates, more than 16,000 adults have taken advantage of the training at more than 250 training facilities all across Ohio. Any Ohio adult is eligible for the free 6-hour training program. Find a training location and register for training today by calling 1-800-NOW-I-CAN (669-4226).

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