Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Computer Training....In Pictures

As many of you know, or have read, I am responsible for the technology training at 18 schools. 1 man, 18 schools...you do the math! I love my job, but sometimes it can be frustrating trying to meet the needs of all the teachers and staff members in my district. I constantly look for ways to give teachers instruction that they can do on their own or in groups, together. These are not meant to replace the face-t0-face training that I do or the other resources I create. They are merely there to provide that additional information some teachers/staff need.

In the past I have blogged about TechEase. This is a great training resource out of the University of South Florida that provides some really basic information for teachers on how to do everything from burning CD's to using email to hardware/software troubleshooting. While I love this site I needed something else to help give teachers a leg up on specific software they use in their classroom and I needed it to be easy to follow and understand.

In Pictures does exactly that. According to their website the In Pictures project was created as a research project for the U.S. Department of Education, with the ultimate goal of providing easy to use computer tutorials to students and adults with learning disabilities. The site contains tutorials for all major Microsoft Office Products like Word, Excel, Publisher, Power Point and Access, both the 2003 version and the 2007 version. There are also tutorials for Open Office programs, creating basic webpages, MySQL, Perl, and PHP basics.

What makes this site stand apart from all the others is their approach. Quoting from their website:

Where's the Snazzy Stuff? So where are the color screenshots? The cartoon characters? The video animations? We don't use these things, because our research showed us that:

  • The simpler, the better.
    Tutorials should be as simple as possible. Multimedia animations may look nifty, but they can be hard to follow. That's why these tutorials use static screenshots.
  • Black-and-white is better than color.
    Color screenshots can create a "kaleidoscope" effect that makes it difficult to focus. Black-and-white doesn't. That's why these tutorials use black-and-white screenshots.
I have already had several of my teachers tell me that they learned more going through the tutorials on this site then in any previous workshops they had. They were able to move at their pace and work side-by-side in the program and the tutorial. The screenshots they use are easy to see and the wording is very easy to follow. Overall, this is a site that I will be sending teachers to for those refreshers they sometimes need, and hey, why not use it with students? Head on over to In Pictures and learn something new today!

In Pictures-Computer Tutorials In Pictures, Not Words


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