outline drawing of a file folder

Computer Skills

Finding Your Way Around Your Computer

Fine-Tune Your Computer Skills

Objectives to focus on:

WII-FM  (What's In It - For Me)

If you type faster you will finish faster...

Find out "Where did my file go????"

Use hot keys to do things faster without even thinking about it, like File/Save"

You CAN train your brain not to peek at your keys.

Complete these Learning Activities.

Print your To-Do Checklist for this module.

As you complete the items below, check them off your list. This will help you keep track of what you are doing as well as give you a sense of completion as you work through the course.

Note: Each link below will open up in a new tab or web page. This allows you to easily return to this page for the next learning activity.

Watch this 3-minute video of a monk learning how to use this new invention called "book".

One of reasons this is humorous is because we have all been in a similar situation: Learning a new technology that we are not familiar with.

Think back on a situation where you were learning something new, such as using a computer, and recall what was frustrating and what made you feel exhilarated.

Learning on-line often has similar feelings: being overwhelmed and then discovering that "Hey, I can do this!"

Estimated Time: 5 minutes.

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Computer Skills (page 6). Respond to the Medieval Monk Video. Why was this funny to you? If you were teaching teachers, what other form would you recommend for the help manual that is presented at the very end of the video?

Typing Certificate for successful completion of a goal Improve your typing speed using this free website:
Typing Web

Keep track of your results every time you practice. Your instructor may ask you for this information, date, time, typing speed, accuracy.

Typing Web contains Lessons, Practice Exercises presented in a very useful manner. You can even get certified.

Register on the site if you want to track your progress. (You don't have to register. Read the popup window carefully.)

Longer is not better! Cognitive scientists have shown that you can increase your skills faster if you limit your practice to 10 or 20 minutes per practice session. Any longer and your muscles get tired and your learning drops off.

Follow these steps on a daily basis to steadily increase your keyboarding skills.

  1. Set a SMART goal. (For example: Increase 2 wpm and 2% accuracy every week)

  2. Practice for 10 minutes when you first wake up. Focus only on the typing. No distractions or multi-tasking!

  3. Practice for 10 minutes right before you go to bed. Focus only on the typing. No distractions or multi-tasking!

  4. Keep track of your progress. (The TypingWeb is good for this because it keeps track of your progress automatically.

Here is how it works. While you are sleeping your brain will process the information, using your brain as well as your finger and arm muscle memory.
As soon as you wake up, and start practicing again your brain will say, "Oh wow, this must be important!"

One gotcha. If you type during the day, you can't go back to your old way of typing. This just tells your brain, "Hey, don't pay attention to that morning and night practice stuff. She's going to let you use all your old neural pathways. You don't REALLY have to make new ones...."

You may have to put a cardboard hood over your keyboard to let your brain know that you mean business.

Estimated Time: 20 minutes every day.

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Increase Your Typing Speed (page 6). Chart Your Practice Sessions. Use the Journal to track your keyboard practice sessions.

shot down the length of a computer keyboard Use keyboard shortcut keys to save time. Memorize these six valuable short-cut keys. Use them often to make them an automatic part of your computer work.

These work on all computers and with almost every program.

Why this saves you time: Every time you have to move your hand from the mouse to the keyboard your brain has to re-orient itself. Keyboarding uses the touch areas of the brain. The mouse uses the visual areas of the brain.

If your hand is on the mouse, use the right-mouse button to perform these common tasks. If your hand is on the keyboard, use the keyboard shortcuts. This will make you much more efficient on your computer.

Estimated Time: milli-seconds (if you use these on a regular basis)

shot down the length of a computer keyboard Improve your file management skills by doing this hands-on Tutorial: File Management

Estimated Time:  30 minutes to 1 hour

close-up photo of a flash drive Practice your file management skills using a flash drive by doing this hands-on Tutorial:Using a Flash Drive

This tutorial also shows how to zip files. This is a common technique used to group several files and compress them into a single file. (Like making a small ball out of several sheets of aluminum foil.)

Here is a video, Zipping Files using Windows, that you might find helpful as well. Don't just watch the video. Try it out on your computer with a few files and folders.

Estimated Time: 30 minutes to 1 hour

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: File Management. (page 7). List three things you have learned about managing files on your computer. Do you use a file management trick that wasn't covered? Write it down in your Journal.

Make file extensions visible on your Windows computer.

File extensions tell your computer what programs to run. For example, a file that ends with .doc tells the computer to open up Microsoft Word when the user double clicks on the file name or icon.

Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7 hides the file extensions.

Here is how to turn them on so you can have better control over your files.
Turn on file extensions using Windows XP
Turn on file extensions using Vista and Windows 7

Optional: Here is a list of common file extensions . This is useful if you have a file and your computer doesn't know which program to use.

Estimated Time:  10 - 15 minutes

Football player focused on intercepting a pass
Get focused.
Select 2 items from this list of ways to get focused.

Actively apply these to your life and pay attention to the results.

  1. Start Fresh - Stay Focused
  2. Take A Hike!
  3. Intentional Distraction
  4. Focusing Using the Power of Subconscious
  5. M and M Focus Reward
  6. Feng Shui For Dummies
  7. Flowerpots Grow My Business
  8. Slay the Dragon First
  9. Business Action Circles
  10. Reward Yourself

Estimated Time: 30 minutes or less.

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Use Page 8 - Get Focused. Write down the two items you selected to help you get focused and write down how you plan to include these in your life.


Print out the PDF help sheets on basic computer skills that you will find useful from the Akron, Ohio Public Library.

The list includes information sheets on File Management, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Okay! You've made it this far.
Have you enhanced your computer skills?

Next, you can learn more about time management and discover the real secret of multi-tasking...

Click here to move on to Module #3 - The Time Management Module.