Monday 24 August 2015

Top Five Tips for People Attending One-on-Ones

  If you've been on the library's website recently or inside one of our library branches, it is likely you've heard of our FREE One-on-One Tech Help program.  This program is aimed at adults who need help with technology (such as laptops and tablets) and would like to learn more; interested clients can make appointments with the library to meet with the branch's CAP (Community Access Program) Youth Intern, who will engage in a one-on-one session to answer any question clients may have.  As with any time one is meeting with a stranger to discuss something one may not be comfortable with, it is not surprising or in any way unreasonable to be concerned about not knowing what to expect.  Will the instructor be easy to talk to? What if I can't understand any of what they're saying? So, to help sooth your fears, here are my top five tips for People Attending One-on-Ones.

1. Have Your Questions Ready Before You Go
Before arriving at your session, make a list of the questions you'd like to ask or subjects you'd like to go over.  This not only insures that you won't forget what you wanted to ask, it also helps the instructor make sure that your time together is used in the most productive and helpful way.  You may want to tell the instructor “I know nothing, just tell me everything” or asking them “what are all the important things I need to know?”.  Although these statements may be how you feel, they do not help an instructor to know where to begin. 

2.  Remember that Instructors Want to Teach as Much as You Want to Learn.
The instructors are there because they want to help, and all instructors had to be vetted through an interview process with library staff.  Remember: not everyone can know everything, so sometimes you will be learning together.  Instructors may not always realize that what seems obvious to them may not be so clear to someone who didn't grew up in such a hyper-technological culture; in most cases, just letting them know that you don't understand will help to provide some direction. 

3. Instructors Can Not Read Your Mind.
If you find that you are struggling with a certain program, or you can't keep up because the instructor is going too fast, you need to let the instructor know.  I fully understand why it often feels easier to just stay quiet and hope everything will just suddenly make sense.  The truth though, is that this method is not productive or helpful, and could end in mutual frustration. Instructors want to aid you in understanding technology but they can't do that unless you are willing to communicate with them.  Just ask them to slow down or go over an explanation again – instructors are there to support you.

4. Instructors Are Not Computer Technicians
Instructors are trained in helping clients with doing many basic computing tasks, such as using the Internet, setting up a tablet, or downloading ebooks and audio books.  They will likely not be able to help you if you bring in your tablet because it is making a funny whirring noise, or your laptop has a virus.  These are beyond the scope of what the one-on-one sessions are designed to achieve.  Before making an appointment, make sure your problem is one that a CAP Youth can help you with.  If you're not sure, it is perfectly okay to call the library and ask. 

And last, but certainly not least...

5. Have Fun!
In this highly technological age, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with all the new gadgets coming out constantly.  But for all that, it's a little scary, it's really pretty amazing too!  Thanks to technology we can now talk face to face with friends and family half way around the world, download hundreds of books and movies onto one easily transportable device, learn about quite literally anything you can think of with the click of a button, and so much more. There are so many incredible things that can be done with technology, and with the skills you'll learn through one-on-ones, you'll take your first step towards them.  Good luck!

- Shania Taylor, CAP Youth Intern Bridgetown/Lawrencetown

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