Getting Started With Technology

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The same is true for technology as novice users become more familiar with a computer and the on-line world.

With some Basic Digital Skills it is possible for people and organisations to do so much more on-line than through other means. Although computer technology can seem overwhelming and the on-line world a place that is confusing and potentially full of dangers there are many good guides that can be used to help new computers find their way on-line and to understand the basics of how to use a computer.

What do all these computer terms and technology words mean?

Maybe you're not sure what some of the jargon or abbreviations mean when people talk about technology.

The BBC Webwise Glossary is a good reference point explaining the most used technology terms. The Digital Unite website also explains computer jargon in simple terms.  

Basic Digital Skills

Go-On UK have produced a guide to the Basic Digital Skills that every individual and organisation needs to achieve in order to communicate effectively on-line or run their organisation efficiently. The benchmarks are on the Go-On UK website or you can download them from Go-On UK to print and share with colleagues and family. Don't worry if you think you're not able to 'say yes' to every one of them, there are plenty of resources that can help. For example.... 

Using a computer or laptop

BBC Web Wise have produced this very straightforward guide aimed at first time computer users which covers computer basics including using a mouse and keyboard, desktop controls and data security. The Goodwill Community Foundation have similar guides explaining how to get started with a computer, but extending this to more technical topics such as 'taking a look inside your computer' and 'basic computer maintenance'. 

The  guides from Digital Unite on computer basics set you on the right path to learning about your computer including a very useful section on switching to Windows 8 from an older operating system.

If you or someone you know doesn't have English as their first language then the on-line training course and other resources from Learn My Way may be useful as a first step to get started before going further into their use of the web. 

Getting online and using the internet

This downloadable beginners guide to a computer and the web from the BBC Web Wise team covers the basics of how to use a computer, getting started on-line and how to use e-mail. There is also a guide explaining the importance of safety and privacy on-line.

The  Online Basics courses from the Tinder Foundation are a short package of courses covering how to search and explore the internet, keep in touch with email, and use public services online - all while being safe and secure. Training is often available through your local UK Online Centre of which there are over 5000 in the UK. To find your closest centre see the interactive map on the UK Online website here

NHS24 in Scotland have developed the 'Living It Up' website which is a community website listing many health and well-being activities that are searchable by postcode. They also have a digital tools section on the connect page to help you learn how to do more on-line with basic 'getting started' guides to Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and much more.  

Barclays Digital Eagles

A nationwide scheme in which trained 'Digital Eagles' help Barclays' customers to get the most out of using online services to save money. 

There is also now a smartphone and tablet app available for anyone to download and use to boost your own, or others digital skills. Topics covered include a Beginner's Guide to the Internet, Online Safety, Computer Software & Hardware and Learning to Code. Successful completion of modules in the app is rewarded by earning Mozilla Open Badges and moving up the ranking on the leaderboard. Download the app for Android here or for iOS here.

Further resources, tools and websites explaining a wide range of technology skills for beginners through to advanced users can be found on the Go-On UK Digital Skills website.

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