Shedding Technology Trepidation

Brush up at some free computer classes at the Providence Public Library.


Published:

Do Excel spreadsheets make you tense? We may have a solution.

Shane Sher is a self-professed computer geek who spends much of his time helping people not to fear technology so much.

During the nearly eight years he’s worked as a computer training specialist for Providence Public Library, Sher has taught more than 11,500 students things like the fine points of adding a column in Excel and how to sell their stuff on eBay.

The library’s free computer classes have attracted people from a range of backgrounds: people living in shelters, looking to develop more job skills; people at the tip-top of their professions looking to brush up; moms looking to make some money on the side, Sher says. His youngest student was ten; the oldest, ninety-nine.

“Everyone comes in and says pretty much the same thing:  ‘I’m computer illiterate,’" Sher says. But some people’s definition of illiterate is that they only write emails and use Facebook, while others literally may never have sat down in front of a computer.

“My first job is to get the person to relax with computers, because once you get the person to relax, you can teach them anything,” Sher says.

He remembers one student was so intimidated by technology that she couldn’t use the electronic keypad outside her apartment building and would wait for another resident to go inside. The woman took several classes with him (“her intention was to become part of the current civilization”), and now he sees her in the library’s computer lab, working on her own.

“That’s my goal, that eventually they go far beyond me,” Sher says.

If the people who attend Sher’s classes have one complaint, it’s that they leave hungry.

Over the years, Sher has come to recognize when students get nervous and tense up if they don’t understand something. So he starts talking about food. “Anything to distract them from being worried about the subject matter,” Sher says. 

Check out the schedule for upcoming classes and handouts here.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags


If you’re into this blog wait until you see what’s inside Rhode Island Monthly each month.
Only $1.50 per issue when you sign up for a year. Visit the Subscription Center.

 

 



 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

You might enjoy reading...

The Dish: Rebelle Artisan Bagels Pop-up

Baker Milena Pagán's handmade bagels will be available at Laughing Gorilla Catering on Jan. 22.

Foodie Field Trip: Hope and Main Meet Your Maker Market

The monthly indoor markets feature dozens of Hope and Main’s member companies, plus local farms or artisans.

The Dish: Durk's Bar-B-Q Opening on Thayer Street

Jake Rojas and Jay Carr are launching a new spot for smoked meats, craft beers and cocktails.

PVDonuts' Friendsmas Doughnut and Knead Doughnuts Opening

PVDonuts is selling a doughnut topped with smoked ham, sweet potato casserole and cornbread, and Knead Doughnuts has opened downtown.

Preppy Pig BBQ Locations Closed for Relocation

The locations are open under new ownership but it will not be Preppy Pig BBQ.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

The Dish: 28 Local Options for Thanksgiving Dinner and Desserts

Whether it's a sit-down feast or takeout turkey and side dishes, we've rounded up some places that are accepting reservations. Plus, where to place your to-go dessert orders!

Rhode Islanders of the Year

Meet the women, men and kids who have done the Ocean State proud this year.

Here's How to Apply for RI's New Free College Initiative

Step-by-step guidelines on how to score two years of free college through Rhode Island's Promise.

25 Ways to Ring in the New Year in Rhode Island

New Year's Eve festivities include dinners, rooftop parties, live music, burlesque shows and more.

28 Best Seafood Restaurants in Rhode Island

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
 


 
Edit ModuleShow Tags