Voices From the Lab: Training Carries On After Electricity Goes Out

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Texas storms can roll in slowly or push through in a hurry. Recently, a Technology For All (TFA) evening computer training class had just begun at the Bastrop Public Library when a front moved through so fast it knocked over tree limbs, tossed around street signs, and left most of downtown Bastrop without electricity.

Being without power would normally end a computer class. The projector, Internet router, even the window shades were off. Fortunately, TFA uses portable computers in Bastrop, and the batteries were fully charged. The class that evening was a short introduction to Microsoft Outlook followed by work with Publisher. Both applications are part of Microsoft Office 2010 and preloaded on the TFA training machines.

“The biggest loss was the projector. I turned my monitor around and worked with the class from that smaller screen. Rather than point with a mouse arrow, a lot of the presentation was pointing with a finger,“ said TFA Program Specialist Tom Swinnea.

The specialist had already preloaded web content on the instructor computer for part of the presentation and made black and white paper copies of the Publisher information. “With the exception of a short web-based video and some easier explanations of Publisher, participants got everything they would normally get in a class with full electricity,” he said.

Librarians kept the building open long enough for the class to finish. With electricity still not restored, they closed the library an hour early. When the specialist reached a place that had an Internet connection, he emailed the paper presentations as attachments to every class member.

The Bastrop Public Library was founded in 1852. Its mission is to provide free and unrestricted access to informational, educational, cultural, and recreational library materials and services in a clean, comfortable, secure environment for people of all ages. For more information, call (512) 332-8880, access bastroppubliclibrary.org, or visit 1100 Church Street, Bastrop, Texas.

Technology For All

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