After 5 years at Chaos To Clarity working with people who need to make the most of computers at home and work, and spending more than twice that teaching in Universities off and on, I want a soapbox…or rather the 21st century variation that lets me have my say and a great conversation too. Hooray for blogs!
I work with people who want to become confident and competent computer users so that they can fully participate in 21st century life. I get that. And I love being part of the journey. I will admit to being a bit surprised by how passionate I have become about reaching more people. It seems to me that technology education is necessary for amazingly large numbers of people so they can live with less stress, more access to information, and greater possibilities for connection with others.
Computers do more for us and matter more to us almost day by day. Along the way, I have become increasingly bothered by what I hear from non-expert, non-techie people who are mostly over 40. Some are women and men who did not have to use computers much at work until more recently, if at all. They may have learned just enough to get by, but continue to struggle when faced with software and hardware changes at work while resisting them at home. Sometimes their lives led them away from the information technology revolution early on. In all cases, the people I talk to are feeling the pain, or at the very least a distinct sense of unease about being left out.
A whole lot of people who were otherwise occupied as computers and the Web roared into daily living are feeling more and more lost when faced with the most user-friendly versions of computers to date. Since I worked on early computer systems many moons ago (DOS), I realize that life for the average user has improved by leaps and bounds. Still, for all the improvement, something is missing and too many people are missing out.