Tiptoe with the Typewriters – Guest Post by Mary Biever

by Pat Alexander on October 15, 2010 · 8 comments

My good friend Nibby Priest posted on Twitter a link to this blog written by Mary Biever.  Mary is an Energetic corporate computer trainer, wife & mom of teens. Passionate about social media, tech, cooking, gardening, 4-H, and empowering people.  You can find Mary at http://marybiever.wordpress.com and http://twitter.com/MaryBiever.  Mary, Thank you for letting me post your blog at the Ecosystem.

“Young people get this stuff easier.”

For 14 years, I’ve worked as a corporate computer trainer. My biggest success story was a 70 year old lady who learned to keyboard and moved up to designing databases in 6 months.  She said, “If I can outlive 2 husbands in marriages of more than 20 years each, I can learn to use a computer.”

The biggest challenge is overcoming the Fear Factor.  I tried an experiment that can help.

I did turnabout with high school students.  I divided 10 students into 2 teams and brought in typewriters for the challenge. One team had an electric typewriter, and the other had a manual. They had an assignment to type a page of text in an hour. I gave them 0 instructions on how to use a typewriter.

Questions asked:

  • Where’s the printer?
  • This typewriter needs a new toner. (I showed how to rotate the ribbon wheel.)
  • You have to push this bar for EVERY line?

It took each team at least 5 minutes to figure out how to put a sheet of paper into the typewriter.  Within an hour, each team had typed a paragraph.

I got out a bottle of liquid paper and told them, “This is spellcheck.”

After the challenge, I noted their frustration.  Then I told them I learned to type on a manual typewriter and remember when my school got a single row of electric typewriters.

Then I told the teens that the amount of change I had encountered would be miniscule to what they will see by the time they are my age.

Finally, I added – to be open to the challenges those changes present.

Never quit learning. Broaden your horizons. Try something new.

Yes, when I got my Android it took me a month to use it comfortably. My teens had to show me how to make a phone call and answer it. But I did learn it.

You can learn it too.

Think of it as a tiptoe through the typewriters to the 21st century.

  • nibbyp

    Mary Biever is probably considered a antique herself in a good way. She consistently has taught others how to use technology for over 10 years in Henderson KY. That is a long time in computer years. Her diversity in interest along with just being a good trainer makes her a much needed fixture in the industry. Insurance peeps can learn a lot from her insight.

    I'm sure we have many insurance people who can relate to this typewriter story!

  • marybiever

    Pat, I'm glad we met recently online. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a long and wonderful relationship.
    My recent post The Chilean Miracle- Collaboration is the New Black

    • Mary I too believe this will be a long, wonderful relationship. Thank you so much for letting me post this for my readers.

  • Pingback: MelissaNazarCibelli()

  • Pingback: InsuranceEcosystem()

  • Pingback: Pat Alexander()

  • Pingback: PatAlexander()

Previous post:

Next post: