Monday, June 15, 2009

Miss Information helps the aged learn about the Internet

On Saturday Miss Information got to help out with a computer training. She used to find these annoying but once she accepted that none of the students learned anything but none of them seemed to mind, she began to appreciate them as breaks away from the reference desk.

This training, like all trainings, had an agenda, a goal, an objective. None of this makes any difference when the people you're teaching treat the mouse as though it were a live grenade. On this occasion the training got as far as step 2--Using a Search Engine--before it fell apart. It may have been Miss Information's fault. She pointed out the special searches and mentioned that she had never used Google Video. At this point, the rest of the lesson was abandoned as the 4 little old ladies and the little old man decided to experiment.

One woman was horrified by the opening screen. "But I don't want 'hot' videos," she protested. The other octogenarians concurred. No 'hot' videos. No siree. Nice ladies are not interested in that sort of thing.

After explaining that 'hot' was merely a synonym for 'popular', Miss Information's colleague suggested a little-old-lady-appropriate search for Pride and Prejudice. The first hit was for a trailer of a BBC production--nice, tame, suitable. The second hit was titled "Colin Firth strips off and goes swimming." Miss Information watched in horror as every one of those women demonstrated heretofore unknown clicking ability and the screens were instantly filled with, well, Colin Firth stripping off and going swimming. The women were delighted. The man in the group buttoned his sweater up to his collar and began to explore Google Maps. Miss Information got an idea for a new training. She's working on a title but it will be something like "Learn the Mouse by Looking at Nubile Actors on the Internet".

It would be more fun than using the jigsaw website.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Miss Information has another bad group project experience...or does she?

A couple of weeks ago Miss Information had another group presentation. It was going to be great. She had the material down pat. She was going to be charming and funny. She brought some ironically lame drawings to hold up. There were actual jokes! She couldn't wait.

Her part was at the end of the presentation. Prior to this the professor got excited and interrupted to discuss at length the negative aspects of Open Access Publishing. Unfortunately this was Miss Information's topic. Fortunately, she had missed every single one of the very relevant points the professor brought up. Damn. Well, at least there was no duplication.

When it was time for her presentation things really went downhill. She didn't bring water so her voice was cracking like Peter Brady's in that special singing episode of the Brady Bunch. No one so much as smirked at the lame drawings. No one laughed at her jokes. The whole thing was a big stupid disaster and she has spent the past couple of weeks avoiding the rest of the group out of embarrassment.

The marks were posted online and it was ok. The professor wrote out comments and put them in little envelopes like love letters. Miss Information didn't look at the one for her group. Today one of the group members waved the envelope in her face.

"You really should read this," she said. "He loved your part."

Well presented he said. Engaging he said.

Miss Information just can't figure this place out.