Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Surprises in store at Friday's members' meeting

It seems that the Digital Photo Story class - see the photo - has some surprises in store for us on Friday at the members' meeting.  What they are I do not know - your president and Photo Story trainer John doesn't share all his secrets with me!

I do know they are putting a project together.  So either they are going to show us something, or maybe make us stars.  Who knows?  So you'd better come along and find out. The meeting starts at 9.30am and finishes at 11.30, and a good morning tea can be expected since our caterer Hazel is blooming with health once again.

We are collecting Gmail accounts, since we want to set up a Club Calendar with all our events and meetings listed.  So if you have one, let us know at margaret.tucker2153 at .

Monday, February 15, 2010

Busy days at the club - plans for Win7

We are now into Week 3 of our fourth year at Parramatta Computer Pals and the club rooms are buzzing.  Most of our current courses are full to capacity, and we are slowly filling up the five week courses commencing at the end of February. There are also a few vacancies in our two Monday short courses in Email Refresher and Skype. All our courses finish just before Easter.

Just about all classes now have buddies who assist the trainer by helping those students who feel less confident than other class members or who need help to catch up.  I for one couldn't do without my buddy in Google Tools, even though my students are all fairly experienced computer enthusiasts.  Since late last year, we have included our growing crew of buddies in our trainers' meetings, organised by Judy Joyce (pictured with trainer Peter Grove), our training coordinator.  This has proved to be very worthwhile, with buddies contributing new ideas, and feeding back comments from our students.

This term we are introducing two new courses - an Email Refresher two hour course to be held on two occasions in weeks 6 and 7, and a Web Design course which has commenced with six intrepid starters one hour per week for nine weeks, extending for another two hours per week in weeks 6-9.  This is very much a pilot project since there are so many ways to learn web design, and each student will have a different goal.  It is very likely that this course will become a formalised Special Interest Group, but we'll see.

In late January, Judy and Deborah organised a gathering of 17 trainers and buddies to introduce us to Microsoft's new operating system, Windows 7.  We recently acquired a new laptop with Win7, but only 3-4 of us had experience with Win7. It is really important we become familiar with it as quickly as possible, since we are now receiving enquiries from members who have recently purchased PCs and laptops with the new system.

 Rather than try and "triple boot" the training room PCs, we decided that the differences between Vista and Win7 were not so great that we couldn't include Win7 students in the same class as Vista students.  The trainer and buddy would explain the differences and make the Win7 student feel confident to use their home computer.

After Deborah demonstrated some of the features of Win7, we discussed how all trainers and buddies could best become familiar with Win7.  We decided that each trainer - with priority given to those who currently taught Beginners 1 & 2 in Vista - should borrow the new Win7 laptop and practice using the operating system.  The Laptop would also have a Professor Teaches Win7 tutorial loaded.  The laptop would be available for 2-3 days or over a weekend, but between use would be available in the club rooms for demonstrations and practice.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Parrapals birthday party and lunch at the Leagues Club

At the club, we don't give you much time to recover from Christmas and New Year parties - maybe we don't need it at our age!  In January, we always celebrate our club birthday, and this was our third.  President John Moxon did the honours at our monthly meeting on 15th January, watched by yours truly as Secretary and special guest Joan Craymer, president of Epping Computer Pals for Seniors and vice president of the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association.

A number of our members displayed and /or spoke about their creative work during the year - we saw cards, bookmarks, family and travel scrapbooks and a newsletter.  We didn't have our usual Q & A session after the morning tea break because members were too busy chatting and paying for courses for Term 1.  As usual, we welcomed a number of new members to the club.

The following Monday, about 30 members met for our quarterly lunch at Cafe 88 at Parramatta Leagues Club.  At these events, we talk about anything EXCEPT computing (well, only a little computing).

The week before and after this, members of the committee, trainers and some buddies had some busy times preparing the course notes, attendance sheets, name tags, payments and computer equipment for the new term.  It is amazing how much time is put in by club members, all of it voluntary of course.

Classes for the year started last Wednesday and Thursday, with the Monday and Tuesday courses starting this week.  Again we have a wide variety of classes, mostly 10 hour courses over five weeks, and a smaller number of 10 week courses, and two short courses on Email Refresher and Skype.