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.

 

 



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...

5 Ways to Savor Flag Cake

Whether down home or upscale, here are some options for a Fourth of July dessert.

The Dish: On the Job at Sweet and Salty Farm

Andrew Morley and Laura Haverland's Little Compton dairy farm produces whole milk yogurt, and will soon sell artisan cheeses.

The Dish: Around the World in Cranston's Rolfe Square

The street features eats from around the globe, and many of its markets and restaurants have been in business for decades.

The Dish: Diner's Update: June/July 2015

The latest Rhode Island food, dining and restaurant news.

10 Great Summer Festivals in Rhode Island

Mark your calendar for our favorite summer events.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Popular Articles

28 Best Seafood Restaurants in Rhode Island

Whipstitch Sewing Cafe Opens in North Providence

Whether you're an experienced sewer or would just like to try it out, a new cafe has machines you can rent and a library dedicated to crafts for inspiration.

Taylor Swift: The New Girl

When famously confessional pop star Taylor Swift bought a house in one of the state’s most reserved communities, the neighbors wondered how they might make her feel welcome. Then came the paparazzi.

Rooftop Bars

Savor the View: 5 Rooftop Bars

11 Brunch Spots in Rhode Island

Where to enjoy our favorite meal of the week.
Edit ModuleShow Tags