Computers and Technology Information
Basic Skills Tutorials
A product of the Public Library Association and made possible through an IMLS grant, DigitalLearn provides video tutorials for new computer learners to gain basic skills. It also provides a way for those who teach digital literacy to volunteer their time or contribute to a knowledge base of advice for other educators.
GCF (the Goodwill Community Foundation) created LearnFree.org, a website providing video tutorials for build skills in fundamental mathematics, reading, technology, and other life skills. The career lessons cover job searching, interviewing, personal branding, and career planning. The everyday life skills lessons and activities help anyone build life skills with ATM practice, food label practice, tax documents, and telling time. The bulk of the content at LearnFree.org is aimed at helping you build technology skills for different devices and software. Start with the mouse tutorial and the computer basics videos, and work your way up to Microsoft Excel and blogging. No matter what level of tech skills you already possess, LearnFree.org can help you learn something new.
Each lesson helps you learn the location of different keys on the keyboard and allows you to practice typing.
The Library Network provides an excellent introduction for anyone who has never used a computer before. Read the information on each page, look at the illustrations, and follow the directions to proceed through the tutorial. The website is also available en Español. The Library Network has another excellent educational website called Searchpath. Searchpath will teach you how to find and evaluate information online for anyone doing research.
Use this website to practice using a computer mouse.
Use the glossary to find definitions of computer terms, look up unfamiliar file extensions, and use the Help Center and Resources to build your computer knowledge base. Reference the chat slang and emoticon pages to learn how to express yourself through social media or find translations for these abbreviations.
A slightly more advanced guide, endorsed by the AARP.
This website, created by Google, is designed so you can send someone an e-mail with videos of short, helpful computer use tips. You can preview the videos by clicking the play button next to each topic.
Whether you are new to typing or need to practice building speed and accuracy, the exercises on Typingweb can help you. Begin by learning the home keys and work your way up to typing passages from books. The site also has typing games to make learning more fun, and a teacher portal that can be used by an instructor to monitor student progress.
Software and Internet Skills
While Google can be a useful way to find information, you have to navigate around advertisements and commercial websites. Whether you want to target your search by subject, or just want to do a broad search, these search engines will help you avoid ads and find reliable information. Some of them (like iSEEK) even break down sources by grade-level, making them ideal for younger searchers.
The BBC WebWise site offers videos and interactive guides on computer and Internet basics. Topics vary widely, and cover such topics as How to shop safely and securely online. Because this is a BBC website, some of the information (especially related to the laws and the currency) may not be as relevant to Americans. Nevertheless, information about technology and using the Internet is fairly universal.
This LibGuide from the University of California – Berkeley will teach you how to do research online, how to evaluate websites to make sure the information is coming from a respected and reliable source, and how to cite your research. The Glossary of Internet and Web Jargon is also a great place to find definitions for any tech terms you don’t understand.
Are you afraid you might break the Internet? While the information on this page may be a little technical, it gives an excellent overview of how the Internet works.
“Is It Down Right Now” monitors the status of your favorite web sites and checks whether they are down or not. Check a website status easily by using the test tool. Just enter the url and a fresh site status test will be perfomed on the domain name in real time using our online website checker tool. For detailed information, check response time graph and user comments. (From the website, 12/11/2014)
Find out how fast your Internet connection and download speed is.