Sunday, May 18, 2008

Excuse Me While I Check My Bananas

Last week at the library, I had a telephone call at the reference desk from a lovely elderly lady. Her grandson had signed her up for a computer class and she was calling to confirm the date and time. She told me that this same grandson had gotten her all set up at home with a computer and internet connection and had shown her the basics, but he thought our computer class on setting up an email account would be beneficial.

At this point I was having trouble hearing the woman over the alarm bells going off in my head. I asked her a few more questions to determine how much she knew about computers and the internet. This sweet lady had difficulty understanding me until I realized that she thought the words "internet" and "email" were interchangeable.

In an attempt to help her understand the difference, I made the following analogy. "A banana is a fruit, but not all fruits are bananas. In the same way, email is a part of the internet, but there's more to the internet than just email." She laughed and laughed, had me repeat it so she could write it down, then thanked me and hung up. Damn! I had wanted to tell her that before she took our computer class on email, I think she should take one we offer for computer neophytes called "Eek, a Mouse!"


Kim Ayres said...

She really would benefit from a complete beginners class. I used to teach intro to computing and quicly discovered most people had no idea how to use a mouse, and the idea of a double click without moving it was a mystery.

Canadian Girl said...

You're right, Kim, that lady needed the beginner's class. The one our library offers really is called "Eek, a Mouse!" - no joke. Double-clicking is apparently an art.