We just completed 4 days of teaching computer seminars at the FMCA (Family Motor Coach Ass’n) rally in St. Paul, Minnesota. We taught 8 seminars to audiences of 200-400 people. It was very gratifying to see so many RVers hungry for the computer education we have to offer. One woman came up to me with a big hug saying she loved me! Apparently, after our seminars, she realized that she was doing so many things the hard way. We had just made her life so much easier, she exclaimed.
Why do travelers, in particular, need computer education?
First of all because most travelers are older and never had any computer classes. Some basic information can ease the computer frustration. Secondly, there are such cool new programs for travelers to use. Google Earth for exploring our world; Picasa for managing all those thousands of digital photos, and all sorts of options for connecting to high speed Internet as you travel. Options that didn’t exist just 5 years ago! Lastly, when you travel, you can’t call your friendly neighborhood computer guy when your computer has a problem. You’re it! So, you need to know a little bit more about computer maintenance and safety.
Both my husband, Jim, and I have been computer support professionals since the early 80s. Since 2003 we’ve been living fulltime in our motorhome and we see so many RVers traveling with laptop computers. Within the last 10 years computers have gone from a novelty to a necessity. We’ve developed our seminars and our tutorial videos based on the needs we see from those around us. We also email a newsletter with tips and tricks we think are useful to travelers. You can browse our newsletter archives anytime.
Most rallies today will offer at least one computer topic amongst the seminars. Take advantage – attend one. Other ways to learn include joining users’ groups. Many RV parks have computer groups that meet regularly. If you winter in Arizona you might find a club near you through the Arizona Alliance of Computer Clubs. FMCA has the Bits and Bytes group; Escapees has a ‘Birds of a Feather’ group for computers and RV.net has the awesome ‘Technology Corner‘ forum where you can ask any question and get plenty of answers.
If you’re going to be in an area for a while, check out the class schedule at the local community college. If you’re a Macintosh user, the Apple stores have private tutoring available.
Any other ideas? How do you learn about using your computer?