Net Literacy Announces the Upcoming Beta Launch of its AI Literacy Program

During the last 25 years, the internet has significantly impacted our everyday lives and during the next 10 years, artificial intelligence (AI) will even more profoundly change our lives. The AI Literacy program was created to help increase awareness and the critical thinking skills of middle school students, high school students, and other young adults about the promise of and how artificial intelligence will impact their daily lives so that they can make discerning researching, purchasing and other decisions when online and offline.  

In mid to late February, a beta version of AI Literacy will launch and start out with two resource areas for students, their families and their teachers:

  • AI Good Practice examples which will be a curated collection of some of the best examples of how artificial intelligence is enriching our world for good.
  • AI Learning which will be a place where students middle school students, high school students and young adults learn more about artificial intelligence through curated resources that are mostly rich media or enable students to learn about AI by doing.

We will continue to populate the Good Practice examples and AI Learning resource areas with additional content, and then begin to add new resource areas.

The official launch of AI Literacy is scheduled for May 19, 2019.

For more information, email danielkent(at)

Net Literacy Ends 2018 By Donating it’s 43,000th Computer to Homeless Families!

What better way for Net Literacy student volunteers to ring out 2018 than by donating the 43,000th computer to a nonprofit that provides food and other assistance to homeless families in Indianapolis!

Since 2003 and beginning at Carmel Middle School and then extending to school districts throughout Indiana, middle and high school student volunteers have worked during weekends and after school repurposing computers to donate to schools, public libraries, senior centers, community centers, independent living facilities, churches and other nonprofits throughout 91 counties in Indiana where over 2,000 computer labs were constructed. The picture below shows students from Carmel High School delivering repurposed computers that are ready to be donated.


Carmel High School Students Teach Senior Citizens Digital Literacy Skills

Beginning at Carmel Middle School in 2003 and still going strong at Carmel High School over 15 years later, friendly student volunteers continue to “adopt” senior citizens to answer their questions and in 2019, help them better be able to use their laptops, tablets and smartphones.

When the Senior Connects program first started, Net Literacy’s student volunteers held computer drives and built hundreds of computer labs inside independent living facilities, senior apartments, and senior centers because few seniors owned their own computer. Fifteen years later, most seniors own at least one device and so now, students spend their time answering questions and teaching them how to use their devices.   While technology can feel unfriendly at times, the Senior Connects model pairs a friendly student volunteer with a senior for one-on-one instruction so things can be explained in a way that helps reduce any fears the seniors may have of the technology.

Senior Connects offers computer and digital literacy resources at no cost in English, Spanish and Russian, and are available by clicking on this link –

For more information, contact Dan at danielkent(at)

Check out some pictures that show student volunteers helping seniors during a recent Sunday afternoon:





Harshman Middle School Students Learn Computer Repurposing Skills

Working with Net Literacy for a fifth year, Dr. Caren Lettofsky has engaged her students with a two week project based learning exercise that teaches students how to work in teams while learning how to repurpose a computer by assembling it’s parts. As has been the case during past years, Dr. Lettofsky said that her students started this project by telling her that “I can’t” but as they made progress and gained confidence, their I can’ts turned into “I did it!” After the computers are repurposed by the students, they are donated to Harshman families without a computer at home.

Dr. Lettofsky was recognized by the Indianapolis Public Schools in 2017 for her success in this program by being named as a semi-finalist in the Hubbard Life-Changing Educator Awards.

Said Daniel Kent from Net Literacy, “We are proud to support IPS, Dr. Lettofsky, and hundreds of Harshman Middle School students that have learned computer skills in her class or have benefited by receiving a computer!”

These pictures tell the story…






Net Literacy Lesson Plans – Social Networking



Social Networking

This guide uses a non-technical and conversational way of introducing to social networking programs.  We use Google’s Google+ which conveniently integrates into the Gmail application that is discussed in the email section.  With experience using Google+, you will be able to share and receive updates with friends and family.

What is Social Networking?

Social networking is the communicating and sharing of personal, business, or other information with your peers, friends, family, and co-workers. There are many different social networking websites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, and Google+. People use these websites to share ideas, pictures, websites and updates about their life. It’s a great way to stay in touch with individuals you are unable to see and chat with on a regular basis.

How is Social Networking used?

Social networking became popular around 2005 when many young users in their teens through early thirties began using these sites to communicate about their lives and their interests – ranging from music to movies and more. Within several years, older adults began to use social networking (sometimes more generally called social media) to stay in contact. Today, millions of people around the globe use social networking, and increasing numbers are using these services on their cellular telephones in addition to their computers.

Getting Started with Google+

Google+ (Called Google Plus) is one of the newest, most secure, and fastest growing social networks. It integrates with your Gmail (email) account and we recommend it because of the combination of its convenience, usability, and security.

To begin, it’s best if you start from your Gmail account. Later on, you can visit the Google+ website at or search for “Google Plus” (or “Google+” – it makes no difference) in your search engine.

Just like you signed up for your email account, you will need to sign up for your Google+ account. The following steps will guide you and help you register your account.


Registering Your Google+ Account

    1. From your Gmail account, click on your email address in the upper right corner of your screen as if you were logging out.
    2. Click on join Google+.
    3. Enter in your first and last name.
    4. Select your gender.
    5. If you have a digital photograph on your computer, you personalize your account and upload it now. Otherwise, you can wait and do so later.
    6. Click the red “Upgrade” button.
    7. The next step helps you link other email address accounts. You can just skip this step and return to it later. Click “Continue anyway.”
    8. The next step is to add friends and family to your “circles” (more on this later). If you have friends and family members with a Google+ account, search their name in the search box and click on “Add to circles.” For the time being, just click on the “Following” option.
    9. The next step allows you to “follow” companies and individuals in certain categories. Scroll through the categories and if you find one or several companies or individuals that you like, click on “Add to circles.” If you don’t find anything immediately, you can pass on these or add them later.
    10. The next step is to add information about you. This is completely optional. You can add your school, where you worked, and where you live. When finished entering this, press finish. Congratulations! You’re now on Google+.


Your Profile

Your profile is a digital representation of yourself on Google+. You can customize your profile as much as you like – including information about your career, where you live, if you are married, and so on. Everyone on Google+ has a profile.






The first time that you open up your profile page (by clicking on your name below the Google+ logo or on the picture of a person on the upper right hand corner of the webpage), a special page will enable you to input your information into your profile. You don’t have to fill out all of the information on the page – just complete what you want and then click on the blue “Continue to my Profile” button on the upper right hand corner to finish.

You will be directed to your Profile page which shows your picture, your previous posts (we’ll discuss this later in this guide), about you (your personal information), your photos, videos, and your “+1’s” (we’ll also go over this soon).

If you want to modify or add information to your profile, you can click on the blue “Edit Profile” button in the upper right hand corner. Then, complete the information in the form that pops up. When you have finished, click the “Done editing” button in the red bar near the top of the page.

You can look at the profiles of everyone in your circles by clicking on their name, which takes you to their page. Once you’re on their page, click on the word “About.” Their profile will appear on the screen.

Google+ Circles

Google+ organizes your contacts through a system called circles. To see updates from your contacts that have a Google+ account, you must add them to one of your circles. For them to see your updates, they must add you to one of their circles.

Each circle is customizable and can represent different groups of people, such as family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors. With Google+, you can also add celebrities, organizations, and companies to your circles – though for these individuals and groups, they might not add you back to one of their circles as they are trying to broadcast a message, and don’t necessarily seek two-way communication from you (as you may with your friends).

There is no limit to how many people you can add to a circle, but it pays to divide your contacts into circles representative of your relationships with them. What might be appropriate to share with your family members might not be appropriate to share with your co-workers (later, we’ll discuss how to limit and share information in your circles).

When you add someone to a circle or when someone adds you to a circle, both individuals are notified that they have become part of the other person’s circle. This is handy to learn if you have missed a family member or a friend who has added you to their circles! One extremely important concept is to understand is that circles are private – this means that no one can determine which circle they are in and who else is in the circle. This is a feature that is meant to help protect the user and the other individual from any misunderstanding. However, it is important to note that anyone that you add to any one of your circles will be publically visible in a “general” circle category that anyone can see.

When you add someone to your circles, you automatically have the ability to chat with them through the integrated instant messenger system. This system is also free and allows you to type a conversation with one or more people. We’ll examine this feature in depth later in this guide.

Adding People to Your Circles

There are several ways you can add people to your circles. One of the easiest ways to add people to your circles is to go to your circle organizer – and click on the “View All” link that is positioned towards the top of the screen on the right hand side below the heading “In your circles.”

You are then directed to a page that has four pre-made circles that are empty. Let’s begin filling them! You can try to find people you know by typing in their name in the box in the upper-middle portion of the screen that says “Search Google+.” You can enter their name or the email address associated with their Google+ account. It’s important to appreciate that millions of people use Google+ so if you are looking up a friend named Joe Smith, there will probably be multiple Joe Smiths that will appear in the search results. Make certain that you add the right person (a good way to select the correct person is by typing in their email address – each email address is unique). When you find the person you desire to ad, click on their name and you will be directed to their personal page. Click on the red “Add to circles” button in the upper right hand portion of your screen and select a circle to put them in by clicking on the checkmark next to the name. Voila, they are now in your circle!

Adding, modifying, and removing circles is also straightforward. To add a circle, move your mouse over the “Drop here to create a circle” circle. You will see the option to “Create circle.” Click on this link and a form will pop up that allows you to name your circle and add people to the circle. You don’t have to immediately add people to a circle. When finished, you can click the blue “Create empty circle” and move people to this circle.

Modifying circles is just as easy. Move your mouse over an existing blue circle and the options to Edit, Delete, and Share your circle will come up. Click on edit to change the name or to add a description. You will see that the people in the circle will appear in the space above your circles. To remove an individual from a particular circle, click on the individual’s rectangle and click the remove link in the upper right hand corner.

To delete a circle, simply click on the circle you wish to delete and then click delete. You will see the circle roll off the screen.

Your Stream

All the updates from people and companies in your circles will appear in your stream. Likewise, all of the updates you post will appear in their streams. Recall that the stream is located on your Google+ Home Page. To navigate back to the homepage, you can just type into your address bar and it will take you back to your Google+ homepage – or, it’s even easier to just click on the Google+ logo in the in the top left of your screen.

Your stream is like a newsfeed that is updated in real time. For everyone who is in your circles, anything they post will show up automatically in your stream.

Google+ allows users to post different types of media on their streams – for example, you can post just text or comments, pictures, videos, web addresses, and locations! All posts have certain functionality in common – for example each post will include information about who posted the update, when they posted it, and the option to comment on the post, to +1 the post (more on this later), an option to share the post on your own feed, and an option to “hang out” (also more on this later) with the individual who posted the update.

 Sharing Updates

Sharing updates to people in your circles is easy! You can share updates using the Stream box at the top of the Google+ home page. If you want to share an update that only includes text, you can click in the box and start typing. If you want to add a picture, video, location, or link, click on the appropriate icon and a box will pop up that allows you to input the data and post it to your updates.

Posting pictures, videos, and locations are useful, but aren’t necessary to use Google+. The most common “attachment” to a post is the link functionality – which allows you to include a link to a website in your post. Under your post, an abbreviated preview of the website will show up. To add a link to your post, click on the link icon which is in the bottom right of the stream box and looks like a chain-link. Next, type in the address to the website in the box and afterwards, press “add next” to the box that you typed in. If you accidently clicked on add for one of these features, you can clear it by pressing the “x” next to the add buttons or by refreshing your page.

The last step in posting an update is specifying which of your circles will receive the update. Under the box where you will type your content, there are blue words that say “+Add circles or people to share with…”.

Click on the words and select one or more of your circles to share your post with. When you make a post to one of your circles, it will become visible to everyone who is included in your circle and will not be visible to everyone not in the circle that you selected. You can also select the option to post the update to all of your circles, extended circles, which includes everyone in your circles, and everyone in their circles, and then public – which will be available to everyone on the web if they search for your update.

You can also share an update with individual people. To do this, click on the blue text that says “Add circles or people to share with” and start typing the name of the individual who is in one of your circles – and then when their name is displayed on a list that pops up, simply click on their name.

It’s important to carefully select the appropriate circles when you are talking about a subject that might be private or when you prefer to limit its distribution.

Google Chat

Google Chat allows you to hold a conversation over the Internet through Google+ through what is called instant messaging. Instant messaging has been around for decades and is one of the most convenient ways to carry a conversation with individuals in real-time.

To use Google Chat, go to your Google+ home page and look for a column near the bottom of the page on the left-hand side called Chat. Initially, you will not have anyone to chat with because you must first add people to your circles to be able to chat with them.





Once people are added to your circles, as they come online and log into Google+, they will have a green circle or rectangle next to their name in the chat list. If they have a red circle, it means that they are busy. An orange circle means that they haven’t touched their computer for a while and may be away while a dark grey circle means that they are offline.

To start a conversation with someone using Google chat, make certain that they have a green icon next to their name in the Google+ Chat. Click on their name and a chat box will pop up on the right, bottom-hand corner of your screen. Type your message in the lower box. When your message is complete, press the enter button on your keyboard.

If they are around, they will type a message back to you. You do not need to wait for them to reply to your message before you are able to type another message. Google Chat displays who typed what in the conversation.

When you have finished your conversation, press the “x” in the upper right hand corner to close the chat box.

If someone sends a message to you, the chat box will pop up and if you have speakers connected to your computer, a notification sound will play. This sound will also play when someone sends you a message in Google Chat.

Google+ Hangout

Google+ Hangout is like Google Chat – but with video and sound! Before you can use Google+ Hangout, you must have a webcam (a video camera specially built to be used by computers), a microphone, and speakers (or a set of headphones). Without these, when you use Google+ Hangout, the people with whom you are “hanging-out” will not be able to see or hear you, or you might not be able to hear them!

If you do not have a webcam, microphone or speakers, ask a trusted friend or family member to help you obtain them and help you hook them up to your computer. This equipment is relatively inexpensive and they will enrich your experience. Some webcams have built in microphones, but be sure that the webcam that you buy is compatible with your computer before purchasing it.

To start a “Hangout” with a friend, they must be in one of your circles. Additionally, you and your friend must have a webcam, microphone, and speakers. Click on the “Start a Hangout” button on the lower-right hand corner of the Google+ homepage. You may be prompted to install a plugin if your computer does not have the appropriate software installed. It’s always wise to be cautious about installing any new software on your computer, but this plugin is okay to install because it has been created by Google.

The next screen that will display will be the pre-Hangout screen. This will show a live video feed of you – to make sure you look okay – and the “Add people from your Circles” blue text that works the exact same way as it does in your stream – you can select individuals to “Hangout” with (but be sure that they are online and logged into Google+ too) or select entire circles. This will send them a message that will invite them to join the “Hangout.” At the time we’re publishing this manual, ten people is the highest number that can be in a “Hangout” at one time – but it’s a great way to have simultaneous conversations with multiple friends and family members from across the country or around the world! When you’ve finished this step, press the green “Hang out” button.

When the people that you have invited join your Hang out, you can talk with them in real time with video – just like a video phone – and you can chat as long as you want. When you finish, press the exit button at the top right corner of the screen.


Other Functionality

Google+ has other functionality that you can explore. Google+ has a wide variety of games, ranging from poker to Uno to Pool and Sudoku. These casual games are integrated with Google+ and you can play with and against people in your circles.

Google +1, called “Plus One” is a feature that allows you to give your public stamp of approval on almost anything on the web – a picture, a website, or a Google+ post. These +1s will show up on your Google+ profile and also on any of the content that you +1. Additionally, for anything that anyone else +1s, their +1s will be displayed in your browser as you surf or browse the Net.

As an example, if you go to Google News (, you will see a greyed out +1 button next to an article. When you find a news article compelling or well written, you can +1 the post and the button will turn blue to show you that you +1-ed it. In your Google+ Stream – you can +1 posts that you enjoy, or see posts that others really enjoyed.


Congratulations! This completes the Google+ lesson. You are now versed in how to use most of the common features in Google+, the fastest growing social network in the world. If you have additional questions or need help troubleshooting, you can ask a trusted computer-savvy friend or family member, search for your question using the Google search engine, or visit the Google+ Support page at

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Net Literacy Lesson Plans – E-mail


Email – it’s convenient, free and easy.  Today, it is the most rapidly growing means of communication.  This is a basic introduction to email and we use a conversational non-technical style to explain how to use it.  We chose Google’s Gmail email as the email to demonstrate for this class since it’s easy to use and integrates into other programs that we recommend.

What is E-mail?

Email is an electronic way to send or retrieve personal and/or business-related messages, including text and pictures. No postage stamps are required!

How Does E-mail Work?

Think of email like the postal service. To receive email, you must have an account on a mail server. This is similar to your mailing address where you receive letters. We will be using the Gmail mail server.

Your email message is sent from your computer to a server (it’s like the post office) where the computer looks at the address (like the address on a letter) and then directs the message on to the server associated with the recipient’s email account. Once your email arrives at its destination mail server, the message is stored in an electronic mailbox (like your regular mail box) until the recipient retrieves it.

You can still receive email while your computer is turned off. The mail server collects and stores your incoming email until the next time you access your email by opening your mailbox and downloading your messages.

Understanding Email Addresses

You can send email to anyone in the world, as long as you have his or her email address.

Example of an email address: [email protected]


A web address:





An email address has two main components:

  1. The user name comes before the “@” sign. When you sign up for an email account, you’re usually asked to supply a user name (your first initial and last name is often used).

    The domain name comes after the “@” sign. This refers to the mail server, the computer that stores your electronic mailbox. It’s usually the name of a company or organization.

  2. Finally, there’s a dot (.) followed by letters that indicate the type of domain. (.com, .edu, .net, .org,, and so forth)

More Information about Email

On the Internet, everything moves at the speed of light, including email. Because email can be sent and received so quickly, it’s often written in a more conversational manner than a formal letter. An email with grammatical errors can be viewed as being “sloppy” and so you should ensure that your email is written in a manner that will be deemed appropriate by the person that reads it. Always double check your email before clicking the send button: use proper grammar, capitalize your I’s, and don’t use an inappropriate or angry tone. While the tone of most emails are casual, it’s important that emails to ensure your email doesn’t reflect poorly on you by the person that reads it.

Getting a Gmail Account

We choose to teach you how to use Gmail because it is free and rich in features. It has a clean, easy to use interface, and integrates with other applications Net Literacy recommends. Gmail is provided by Google at no cost to users primarily because Google includes relatively small and non-intrusive advertisements.

How to sign up for Gmail email

  1. Begin at the Gmail home page:
  2. On the top right corner of the screen where it says “New to Gmail?”- click on the red “Create an account” button.
  3. Begin by typing in your personal information. This information will only be shared with Google, a reputable company that promises to keep your personal information safe and secure. Type in your First Name and Last Name in their respective boxes.
  4. Type in your preferred username – which will be your unique email address. Some addresses have already be taken, so click on the Check Availability button to determine if the email address that you have entered is available. If you get an error message, simply enter an alternative email address and continue to try different email addresses until you choose on that you like and see that it is available by clicking on the “Check Availability” button.
  5. Type in a password and write it down in a safe place. This password must have at least 8 letters or numbers in it. Read the Safe Connects section of the Net Literacy site to learn how to create a good password.
  6. Retype your password in the next box and Google will double check it for accuracy.
  7. If you are on your home computer and you are the only one that uses the computer, you can choose to have your computer automatically log you into Gmail (more on this later). If you are at a public computer, such as at a library, deselect the first checkbox under the second password box because you don’t want other people to have access to your Gmail account.
  8. The next checkbox allows you to have a more accurate search experience with Google’s search engine based upon your past search history. Clicking the next checkbox will cause Google to remember your search history when a Google search is performed in the future. Check this if you desire this functionality.
  9. Select a secret question that would be difficult for others to guess. If you forget your password but know the answer to your secret question, you can enter the answer to the secret question and gain access to your account. If this ever happens, consider asking a friend or family member to help if you have difficulty resolving the problem.
  10. If you have another email address, feel free to enter it in. If you forget your password, an email will be sent to this address confirming that you really want to change your Gmail password.
  11. If you have a family member who is helping you setup your account and you want to use their email account if you can’t access your e-mail account, you can input their email address in the “Recovery email” blank.
  12. Select your Country.
  13. Type in your Birthday.
  14. Type in the Letters/Numbers that you see in the picture. This is to prevent computers from automatically registering new Gmail accounts. You do not need to write the numbers/letters down. If you can’t read the words, press the “refresh circle” or ask for help. The words might not be real words, but just a string of letters.
  15. Click the “I accept, create my account” button.
  16. Now you must verify your account because Google wants to ensure your Gmail account is secure and accessible only by you. If you do not have a phone capable of receiving text messages, select the option for the service to call you. Next, input the verification code that came to your phone. Afterwards, press verify. Please be aware that it might take up to 15 minutes for the service to contact you.
  17. And now you’re set up! Click on the “Show me my account” button. Congratulations! You now have a Gmail email account!


Logging on to Gmail

  1. Type: into the address box of the browser.
  2. Press Enter.
  3. If your inbox does not load, type your Gmail E-mail address in the “username” box.
  4. Type your password.
  5. Click Sign In.

Checking your mail








As soon as you log in, you will be directed to you inbox, where new mail arrives!


Composing and Sending an Email Message

  1. To create a new email click the red “Compose Mail” button (on the left-hand side of the screen)
  2. Type the recipient’s email address in the “To:” box.
    1. To send a message to more than one person, you may enter multiple addresses by placing a comma and space between each address. (E.g.: To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected])
    2. Ensure that you correctly enter the email address or the message will be sent either to a different person or returned back to you with a note that it was undeliverable – just like the postal service!
  3. Type the subject of the message in the “Subject:” box. Keep the subject to a word or phrase summarizing the content of your message. (E.g.: Subject: Today’s Work Progress)
  4. Use your mouse and click inside the message box (the large box under “Plain Text” in the picture below – it’s where you will write your email letter) and move the cursor to that space.
  5. Type the body of your message.
  6. When you are finished typing your message and are ready to send it, click the red “Send” button








How long does it take for a message to be delivered?

It may only take a few seconds for an email to be delivered. The computer sends a message through your modem (device your computer uses to access the Internet), then the email message is sent to your mail server which sends it to the recipient’s mail server, then the recipient’s computer receives it when s/he opens her or his mailbox. However, it occasionally takes longer than a few seconds if you are sending an email message with a large attachment, there’s congestion on the Internet, or Gmail’s servers are being heavily used.

Reading an Email Message

To read an email, click on the subject of the email.

Note: Unread messages in your Inbox will be bolded. You can also tell how many unread emails that you have next to the word “Inbox.”

Replying to a Message

  1. Open the message that you are replying to.
  2. Click the “Reply” button, which looks like an arrow pointing to the left. The program will present you with a message already addressed to the sender. The subject line will state “Re:” and then the old message’s subject. You will probably not change the subject line so the receiver knows that you are replying to a previously an email that was previously sent.
  3. Click in the box above the text to which you are replying.
  4. Begin typing your reply.
  5. Click “Send” when you are finished typing your message and are ready to send it.

Advertisements in Gmail

Gmail is free because Google supports this service with ads displayed in the Gmail windows. It’s important to note where the advertisements are located, so as not to confuse them with the email content.

Forwarding a Message

  1. Open the message you wish to forward to another person.

  2. Click the down arrow next to the reply arrow.
  3. Click on “Forward”
  4. Type the recipient’s address(es) in the “To:” box.
  5. Type a note above the forwarded message (optional).
  6. Click “Send”


Archiving Messages

In earlier email programs, the amount of space available for emails was very limited – users had to carefully mange the amount of email that had and delete emails that had read. Nowadays space is not really a problem. Gmail allows you to save virtually every email that you receive (and makes your messages searchable). To clean up your inbox, select old emails using the boxes to the left of the messages in your inbox and then click “archive.” They will no longer show up in your inbox, but will be available when you conduct a search.

Searching for Old Mail and Sent Mail

One of the most popular features of Gmail is the ability to search for specific emails among all the emails that you have received (assuming that they are either in your inbox or that you have archived them). To search for an email, type in your search terms in the top search bar – these might include the subject of the email, words in the narrative of the email, or the email address of the sender (this is very similar to searching the Internet with the Google search engine)! Click “Search email” and the results will be displayed.

Email Privacy

Email is not completely private since it sent over the Internet. You might consider email as private as a postcard. A good rule to follow is to not send anything that you wouldn’t want everyone to see. For example, it’s a bad idea to email your credit card number, checking account number, or your social security number in an email message. It is possible for messages to be intercepted by those who shouldn’t be reading them, especially in a work environment. While the chances of someone reading your email messages are slim, be aware that it is a possibility. For more information about Email safety, visit the Safe Connects section on the Net Literacy website. And remember that once you’ve sent an email message, you can’t get it back. Think before you click send, because it’s on its way for good!


Spam is the Internet equivalent to “junk mail.” Advertisers send emails that are deceptive or fake and that may be an effort to steal your credit card number. If you receive an email from a company or person that you don’t know, it might be spam. Spam is sent to millions of email addresses and it is important to be aware of it. It best to consider spam as being malicious – so never reply to it – even if it has an unsubscribe link. People think that unsubscribing removes you from the advertising list, but some spammers use this to confirm that your email address is active and it could result in more spam being sent to you.

Tips for Avoiding Spam

  • Gmail already has very powerful spam protection, and all suspected spam is sent to the “spam” folder on the left of the Gmail screen.
  • If there is mail from someone you don’t know, and the subject line is questionable, don’t open it. It may be spam or contain viruses.
  • Be careful about the websites that you ask you to enter your email address. Visit the Safe Connects section on the Net Literacy website to learn more about how to minimize the amount of spam that you receive.
  • Never open spam.
  • Never buy anything offered by a spammer.

E-Mail Definitions

  • Attachment – a text file or image, such as a photograph, sent as part of an email message (will be covered in advanced class).
  • Bcc – a “blind” carbon copy, a feature where if you “bcc” someone, the original receiver of the message will not know that a copy of the message will be received by the individual who is “bcc”-ed.


  • Bouncing – when a message is not delivered because of an incorrect address, misspelling, etc. and is returned to you via your email system. Sometimes there is a delay when receiving notification of bounced mail. Sometimes, the system will try for several hours before giving up and notifying you that the email has been bounced.
  • Cc – a carbon copy, a feature which will send an copy of your email to the “cc”-ed person
  • Email – electronic mail – the transmission of messages over a network
  • Email Acronyms – Some acronyms you may see in your E-mails.
    BTW – By the way
    LOL – Laughing out loud
    ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
    TTYL-Talk to you later
  • Emoticons – Also referred to as smileys, these symbols help convey the tone, or emotion of an online message.
    🙂 Happy
    🙁 Sad
    😉 Wink
    😮 Shocked, surprised
    $-) Just won the lottery
  • Folders – (Inbox, Draft, Sent, Trash, etc.) can be used to organize your messages (will be covered in advanced class).
  • Forwarding” a Message – Sending a message on to another person.
  • Header – the section of an email message that includes To, From, Subject, Cc, and attached fields.
  • Inbox – the location where incoming mail is stored in your email account.
  • Internet – A network of computers that carries data and makes the exchange of information possible. Allows access to the World Wide Web and email functions.

  • ISP– Internet Service Provider – the company that provides you access to the Internet (like a gateway between you and the Internet). E.g., Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, or Time Warner. Almost all ISPs offer a proprietary email address with every account. Using Gmail allows you to keep your email address when you switch Internet Service Providers.
  • Mail server – a computer in a network that acts as a post office, sorting incoming mail and forwarding outgoing mail.
  • Netiquette – Internet Etiquette. Acceptable practices of using various Internet resources. Example: DON’T USE ALL CAPS. IT APPEARS AS IF THE WRITER IS SHOUTING.
  • Online service – a company that maintains an exclusive network and provides subscribers with services like email and chat rooms – like Google.
  • POP/POP3 – Post Office Protocol – A mail protocol that is used by an application on a user’s computer such as Outlook Express as opposed to a web application such as Gmail or Hotmail. Email is held until the user accesses their account, at which time the mail is transferred to the user’s computer.
  • Web-Based email – when email is not downloaded to an application on a user’s computer but is rather viewed online via a web browser such as Chrome or Internet Explorer. Examples of web-based email providers are Gmail, Yahoo, and Hotmail (also known as Windows Live Mail).
  • Spam – to send unsolicited commercial email, usually in large amounts and indiscriminately, to discussion groups or lists of email addresses.
  • Trash – the location where your deleted messages are stored for a short time before they are periodically deleted for good. You may choose to delete messages permanently yourself by clicking “empty trash now.”
  • WWW – World Wide Web – a subset of the Internet. A collection of inter-linked documents. Remember, the Internet can exist without the web, but the web can’t exist without the Internet.

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Net Literacy Training Manual – Basic Internet Skills

  Basic Internet Skills

The Internet might seem intimidating at first – a vast global communications network with billions of webpages.  But in this lesson, we simplify and explain the basics about the Internet using a conversational non- technical style to make it understandable, useful, and enjoyable.   There’s no reason to be left out!

What the Internet is:

The Internet, the web, cyberspace, and the ‘net are all terms that generally mean the same thing, in this case, we will call it the Internet. The Internet is a NETwork of computers, all over the world, INTERconnected to each other and available to any individual. The Internet is used for many different activities including shopping, communicating, learning, and distributing information.

Unfortunately, you cannot open a door to a house and walk outside to “go into the Internet.” Computers are a primary tool you’ll utilize to use the Internet. The Internet is somewhat difficult to describe because you cannot touch it (in a way similar to software). It seems invisible—only computers can see it – and you can see it through a computer. Sometimes the Internet is best described in comparison to a library. The Internet is made up of many individual components, just like a library is made up of many books. The Internet’s components have even more individual parts, just like a book has pages.

Changing Constantly:

The Internet is a useful source of information about news, sports, and entertainment because it changes along with the minute-by-minute events that occur in the world brings. This might seem confusing. However, it is not necessarily so—the Internet can be thought of as a “dynamic” living organism that changes and adapts to its environment. The Internet changes very quickly—just watching a 24 hour news channel on the television. The content on some websites is updated every few seconds.


Purpose / Content of Websites

On the Internet, there are many websites. These are usually made for one specific purpose; they range from informing you about the news to teaching you how to cook.

The best analogy of a website is a comparison to an entire book or an entire newspaper. Websites are made up of “pages,” just like newspapers and books.

Websites are usually independent, however sometimes they are linked together by hyperlinks (also called links) that allow you to jump from one website to another website. These links allow you to “turn the page,” and move around on the Internet. They are usually underlined and blue, however they can be any color and or even a picture. How do you identify a hyperlink? When your mouse hovers over a hyperlink, the arrow changes into a pointing hand.

Webpages are what you see and read on the Internet. They are primarily made up of text (words), digital media (pictures, movies, and music), and hyperlinks. The Internet, unlike a book or newspaper, is in no order, and can seem slightly confusing at first. However, there are tools on the Internet that help organize it and will allow you to use it comfortably and easily.

Applications to Access the Internet

On the computer, you use a program to see the Internet. The program is called a web browser — you “browse” the web with it. Some common brands of web browsers include Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. They serve the same purpose, navigating the internet, and also have many of the same buttons. For instance, we will take a look at a generic browser’s buttons. You will use these buttons to navigate around the Internet. Sometimes extra buttons might be added, while other times, buttons might have been moved around on the toolbar. If you cannot find a button, just ask someone (they seem to be pretty tricky when they hide from you).

The Buttons

The Back Button – This button allows you to return to the last webpage that you last visited. It is most often used if you accidentally click on a link and wish to return to your previous page.

The Forward Button – If you clicked the back button, you don’t have to hunt for the hyperlink on the webpage to return to the previous webpage. Just click on the forward button to return to the previous page that you were at before you pressed the back button.

The Refresh Button – This button is useful if you are looking at pages that contain content that is updated more frequently, such as the news, sports scores, or the weather. By clicking on the refresh button, the web page loads again, and is updated with the latest information.

The Home Button – When you open your web browser, the first website that is displayed is your homepage. You can change your homepage to fit your preferences. When you click on the home button, it takes you to your homepage.

The Address Box

The Address Box – This displays the URL of a webpage. URL stands for Universal Resource Locator, which is a unique address for each webpage – just like your own home’s address is unique. You can type a specific URL into the address box by left clicking in the box once and then typing. Although URLs are all different, they share common characteristics. The basic diagram of a URL is shown below.



Scrolling on Webpages








One thing to keep in mind when viewing the Internet is that a bunch of information might be displayed on a webpage, however, only a small portion can be seen immediately when you load the webpage. Thus, it is important to look at your scroll bars to the right and bottom to see if there is more information you are missing. If you are tired of using the mouse to scroll up and down, try using the arrow keys.








Pop Up Advertisements








On the Internet, there are things that help you and things that can make you aggravated. One aggravation is the Pop Up Ad. These advertisements are created by aggressive marketers who want you to see their “amazing” product and buy it. Pop ups create their own window and usually appear on top of the information that you are interested in. If you click on a pop up ad, it will take you away from the information you are looking at. If you see a pop up ad, click the X at the top right of the window to close it.

Another type of advertisement is the Banner. Banner ads show up at the top of a website or on the side of a website. As a beginner, it’s generally wiser to ignore banner advertisements unless you are familiar with the company.

Searching the Internet

Because there are so many things on the Internet, it is frequently hard to locate exactly what you are looking for. Search engines such as Google ( are very helpful and allow you search the Internet.

A search engine is a Website used to search for information on the World Wide Web. Google first collects websites using a computer program (called a wanderer, crawler, robot, worm, or spider). Then Google creates an index of these sites so they are searchable. There are many search engines that are available – we use Google for purposes of instruction because most people use it.

Performing a search in Google (See Next Page for Picture)

  1. Go to Google by typing in the URL address box (see page 5). Google is also one of the fastest search engines and provides some of the best results.
  2. Next type your topic or key words (words closely related to your topic) into the box under the Google logo.
  3. Press Enter or click “Google Search”
  4. The next page that will appear is your search results page. This page lists the first few results from your search. Click on one of the page title that has an interesting description or seems most relevant.
  5. If you are not satisfied with that website, click the back button and try a different website. If you still cannot find a good website, try searching by using different terms in the search box at the top of the webpage.

Google Searching Tips

Google will return pages that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include the word “and” between terms. For example, to look for information about parks in Cincinnati, simply type “Cincinnati parks.”

Google is not case sensitive. Typing “United States” is the same as typing “UNITED STATES” or “united states.”

The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button will take you directly into the first Website on the list of results.

The more words you include in your search, the more specific your search will be and the more relevant your search results will be.

Internet Glossary

Browser – A software program that allows Internet documents (like webpages) to be viewed, also called a Web Browser.

Cyberspace – The world of computer networks.

Domain Name – A unique name that identifies a specific computer on the Internet.

Download – A term for transferring software or other files from one computer to another.

Email – Electronic Mail – Messages sent from one specific user to another using the Internet.

Email address – The way a specific user is identified so that they may receive email. An email address can be identified by the “@” sign. E.g., [email protected]

Home Page – The first page of a Website, similar to a table of contents.

HTML – HyperText Markup Language- A computer language used to make hypertext documents that are sent via the World Wide Web and viewed using a Browser.

HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol – The way that hypertext documents are transferred over the Internet.

Hypertext – A way of presenting information that allows words, pictures, sounds, and actions to be inter-linked so that you may jump between them however you choose.

Link – A word, phrase, or image that allows you to jump to another document on the World Wide Web.

Search Engine – A website that indexes and allows searching of information gathered from the Internet. Google is an example of this.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator – The entire address for a piece of information of the Internet. E.g.,

Webpage – A hypertext document available on the World Wide Web.

Website – A collection of webpages.

World Wide Web – A collection of resources available on the Internet using a web browser.
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Net Literacy Training Manual – Basic Computer Skills

Basic Computer Skills

We use a conversational and non-technical way to introduce the introductory skills that you will need to develop in order to become comfortable with accessing and using computer programs.  We will concentrate on the skills that will apply to many commonly used programs.  Topics to be covered include: Hardware Basics, Windows Basics, and working with text.

Basic Computer Components

Computers come in different shapes and sizes. However, there are several parts on a computer that are universal to all computers.

Hardware vs. Software

Hardware includes the parts of the computer system that you actually can touch (like the keyboard, mouse, monitor, or CPU). What’s a CPU? It’s explained below.

Software refers to the programs that you use on your computer (like a word-processing program) or the programs that make your computer work (you physically cannot touch these). Programs are also called applications.

CPU (Central Processing Unit): This box is the brain of a computer system. It processes, stores, and communicates information. Wires connect your CPU to your monitor and other devices. Computers are somewhat similar to people. They have memories just like us. The memory on a computer is stored in data on disks. Disks look like small heavy old style records. Disks function similarly like records. As the disk spins inside the computer, the data on the disk is accessed. The programs that you use (such as word-processing) and the program that runs your computer (the operating system) are stored on the CPU’s hard disk.

Monitor: This part of the computer system that visually communicates with the user. It is somewhat like a television. Almost all information communicated from the computer to the user is through the monitor. (The monitor is also referred to as “the screen”)


On most computer systems, both the CPU and the monitor have a power switch that turns them on and off. Most power switches have this symbol.

Printer: This device takes information (usually text and pictures) from the computer and prints it on paper.

Keyboard: The keyboard is an important tool that allows a user to communicate with the computer. It is composed of “keys” that send a signal to the computer that the computer recognizes and uses to carry out processes and programs. Keyboards come in various shapes and sizes, but serve generally the same purpose. We’ll go over the specific keys in another part of this guide.

Mouse: Similar to the keyboard, the mouse is used to communicate with the computer. The mouse is like a remote control to a TV—It is a tool that drives the computer that can be used “away from the computer;” though the mouse is considered your direct connection into the computer world. We’ll go over how to use the mouse later in the guide.

Welcome to the Computer

The first thing to understand is that it’s difficult to “break” a computer. They are designed to recover from most things a user does to them with a few clicks.


If you experience a problem that you can’t fix, you can:

  • Ignore the problem
  • Just turn off the computer until you can get help


Computers come in many different shapes, sizes, colors, and speeds, but all essentially perform the same tasks. Most computers and mice are very similar; but sometimes a computer might have an extra button or two. While working with computers requires some flexibility and adaptation to different computer designs, you will find this easy to learn.

Also, within a computer, there are many ways to do the same task.

Lastly, the important hint to keep in mind when you’re using a computer is to be patient. Sometimes the computer has to “think” too!

Keyboard and Mouse

The keyboard and mouse are the two most common ways that users communicate with a computer – or tell the computer what they want it to do. First, we’ll look at a keyboard and show you that it’s somewhat like a typewriter that has some fancy tools to help you more effectively communicate with the computer. A mouse is a little bit like a television remote – and also helps you tell the computer what to do.

Keys on the Keyboard

Caps Lock Key

The caps lock key activates a feature that affects only the letter keys. Pressing on the caps lock button causes all letter keys to type in uppercase. All other keys will act the same as if caps lock is off. To deactivate caps lock, press the caps lock key again.

Shift Key

The shift key is used in combination with a second key. The shift key is used primarily to capitalize letters. Shift differs from caps lock because you have to hold the shift key down while simultaneously pressing another key to capitalize a letter, where you only press the caps lock key once. Holding down the shift key also is used to type the characters and symbols above the numbers on the number keys.

Tab Key

The tab key is used to move from one position on the screen to another. It also creates a “tab stop” (right 1/2 inch) indentation for your paragraphs. This is very similar to a typewriter.

Enter Key

When working with text (words), pressing on the enter key moves the cursor down to the next line. Otherwise, pressing the enter key will activate anything that you have selected.

Escape Key

The escape key is used to cancel the current operation or can be used to exit a program.

Space Bar

Pressing the space bar while the cursor is positioned within text will cause a space (one character wide) to be placed at the position of the cursor (like on a typewriter).







Control Key

The control key (Ctrl) is usually used with another key. Holding the control key in addition to another key or keys will start a function. Later on, we will teach you some control key functions that deal with word processing.

Alt Key

The alternate key (Alt), similar to the control key, and is used in combination with other keys.

Arrow Keys

The four arrow keys are located on several keys to the right of the spacebar at the bottom of the keyboard. Pressing one of these keys will cause some type of screen movement in the direction of the arrow on the key. These keys are frequently used when correcting mistakes in documents and allow users to “go back” and fix mistakes instead of erasing all of the work since the mistake was made.

Backspace Key

Pressing the backspace key while the cursor is positioned within text will delete the character (or space) immediately to the left of the cursor.

Delete Key

Pressing the delete key while the cursor is positioned within text will delete the character (or space) immediately to the right of the cursor.

Using the Mouse

  1. Let your hand rest comfortably on top of the mouse. Most people are right-handed and therefore, the mouse is usually on the right side of the computer. All left-handed folks don’t have to worry because millions of “lefties” use computers. Some left-handed people simply move the mouse over to their left side of the computer and use it there. Others use their right hand and soon become ambidextrous! It’s most important to remember to “do what’s most comfortable for you!” For teaching purposes, we will now continue using the right hand terminology.
  2. Fit the palm of your hand around the mouse, with your index finger resting on the left (the primary) mouse button and your middle finger resting on the right (the secondary) mouse button. Let the heel of your hand rest on the desk or table.
  3. As you move the mouse, the mouse pointer (the cursor on the screen) will move in the same direction as your hand.



Mouse Tips:

  • Pressing the mouse buttons is easy and takes a slight amount of pressure.
  • As a beginning computer user, avoid pressing or clicking with the right mouse button. It’s for additional options that advanced users typically use and since you don’t need to use it as a beginner – best avoid it for now!

Mouse Cursors

The arrow/cursor/pointer is the visual cue that points, moves, and selects things on monitor. You can remember this as your “electronic finger” that points to things on your computer screen (monitor).

The mouse pointer is somewhat like your virtual finger inside the computer. It may change shapes as you move it around the screen – which gives you a visual cue that the function of the pointer has changed.

The mouse pointer is in the shape of an arrow as you point to icons, menu choices, toolbar buttons, etc.

The mouse pointer will change to an I-beam shape (cursor) when it is over text (words). You can continue to use the mouse to move the I-beam until it is positioned at the place where you would like to work with the text (e.g. where you would like to insert a word or letter). Then click the left mouse button to actually position the cursor at that point, and enter the word or letter.

Mouse Techniques

Because the mouse is a critical component of the computer, we’ll examine some mouse techniques that will be used.

The mouse can be used in many different ways. There are primarily the two mouse buttons, known as the left and right button. The left button is primarily used. Some mouse techniques include:

Click: This is the easiest of the techniques, however it is very important that you do it properly. To click, you press down one of the mouse buttons. As you click it, it makes a “clicking” noise. The most important skill to learn when clicking is that it only takes a very light, short tap to click a mouse button. Don’t click the mouse too hard since this tends to slow you down. Once you have mastered clicking, you will be ready to move on to the next most essential practice, pointing.


Left Clicking: This is the primary “click” that you will use. This is clicking on the left mouse button. When someone says, “click here,” that usually means to left click.


Right Clicking: This is used to change options or perform specific functions that aren’t usually necessary for beginner.

Point: Use the mouse to move the mouse pointer so that it hovers over the top of an icon or word on the screen. Sometimes, this is all that you need to do in order to prompt a response from the computer (as an example, the shape of your cursor may change).

Point and click: Move the mouse pointer over the top of an item (such as an icon) on your screen and then (while holding your hand still) gently press and release the left button on the mouse. This technique is often used to make a selection.

Double-click: While hovering the mouse pointer over an item on the screen, quickly press the left mouse button two times. This may take some practice but it is a very useful and important skill. If you are having problems double clicking, it’s most likely because you’re moving the mouse slightly when double clicking. Try to steady your hand and try it again. By double clicking, you are usually prompting the computer to take an action on the item you selected (double clicking on an icon on your computer desktop may open or start a program).

Click and drag: Press and hold down a mouse button (usually the left button). As you hold down the button, move the mouse in any direction. Click and drag is a method used when “highlighting” or “selecting” text. To do this to text, click at the beginning of the text that you want to select, hold down the left mouse button, and move your mouse to the end of where you want to highlight.


The Right Mouse Button (Uh-Oh!): What happens if you accidentally press the right mouse button? A menu pops up— and it’s not a problem, but it can make the computer do something that you don’t expect if you then click on the menu. For now, avoid “confusing” the computer. If you accidentally right click and open a box, left click in an open space (see picture) and the box will close.

Windows Basics

The Microsoft Windows Operating System

Microsoft Windows is the operating system that is installed on most computers. An operating system is the software that runs your computer and makes it think. Application software (a.k.a. programs) such as a word processing, spreadsheet programs, or games runs on top of the operating system.

The first screen you see on the monitor when the computer starts up is called the desktop. It is sometimes referred to as The Desktop Environment (as a whole). This is where you will do everything—write letters, send emails, browse the Internet, and so forth.

The Desktop Environment

The desktop environment is made up of several parts including:

  • Desktop Icons
  • The Task Bar
  • The Clock
  • The Start Button








Desktop icons, sometimes called shortcuts, are quick ways to access different programs. To use shortcut icons on the desktop environment to open programs, use the mouse to point to the desktop icon that represents the program that you want to open. Double click on the icon and the program will open or start.

The task bar is the area at the very bottom of the computer screen. You will soon be able to multitask and do several things at once. The task bar is there to help you keep things organized and become even more efficient.

There is a clock that conveniently tells you the time.

The Start Button

The start button is located on the lower left hand corner of your screen – on the taskbar. It’s used to access all of the programs on the computer so you can “start” them.










To use the start menu to open programs:

  1. Point and click the mouse pointer at the button at the lower left corner of the Windows desktop (the screen that appears when you first start up your computer). This activates a pop-up menu.
  2. Slide the mouse pointer up the menu to Programs. The menu selection will be highlighted in blue and a sub-menu will be activated.
  3. Slide the mouse pointer straight to the right onto the sub-menu.
  4. Slide the pointer straight up or down to highlight the program group that you would like to use and then click on the program you want to open.

Turning the Computer On and Off

On a desktop computer, there will be a button to turn on the computer. Similarly, there will usually be a button on the monitor to turn on the monitor. These buttons are usually on the front of the computer and the monitor. The computer goes through a number of internal tasks when starting up. It may take a few minutes for it to complete these tasks. Patience, as you will learn, is used a lot when working with a computer. After the computer stops making what almost sounds like a grinding noise (this is normal – it’s the hard drive being accessed) and the picture on the screen stops changing, it is probably ready for you to use!

Turning a computer off takes more practice. You should follow the procedure below that allows the computer to properly store files. Avoid unplugging the computer or holding down the power button, unless the computer freezes.

  1. Click on the start button at the bottom left of the screen.
  2. From the start menu choose Shut down.
  3. In the dialog box that opens, select Shut down (if it isn’t already pre-selected).
  4. Click on the OK button.
  5. Wait until the monitor turns black and the computer is no longer making a humming noise. Lastly, turn off the computer monitor by pressing the power button on the monitor.


Becoming Comfortable Using a Mouse: The Solitaire Card Game

It’s important to become comfortable with the mouse. To do this, we’ll use a computer game called Solitaire. Computer Solitaire is similar to Card Solitaire, but it is played on the computer and you use your mouse to move cards around. The object of solitaire is to stack all the cards in 4 piles in their correct suits of ascending rank. Piles of cards can be laid out in the bottom half of the screen as an intermediate step. Access Solitaire by clicking on Start, All Programs, Accessories, Games, and then Solitaire.



Three Regions make up the solitaire screen. These include Building Piles, The Deck, and Suit Piles.

Building Piles – Located in the bottom portion of the solitaire window, the building pile is where you will organize the cards before placing them in the suit piles. The top card in each pile is face up. The rest are hidden. Once you remove the top card from the pile, you may turn over the card that was under the previously face-up card.

The Deck – Located in the top-left, it consists of cards you will use in your piles. Click on the top card. It will draw a card and put it into an adjacent pile face-up. Clicking on the deck will draw another card. Once you have gone through the entire deck once, a large “O” will appear where the deck used to be. This lets you know that you have gone through the deck once and if you click on the “O”, the deck will be replaced again. You may go through the deck as many times as you wish.

Suit Piles – Located at the top-right of the screen, these stacks are empty at the beginning of the game. This is where you will stack your cards in ascending order (From Ace, 2, 3 etc…) and in the same suit to win the game.

To move a card from one pile to another pile, (left) click and hold (click and drag) and move your mouse so the card is on top of the pile that you want to move it to. After the card is “over” where you want to place it, release the left mouse button and it should stay in place. If you moved the card improperly, the card will fly back to its original position and you have to move it again.

Legal Moves in Solitaire

    1. An ace can be placed in the Suit Pile.
    2. A card at the top of a stack can be moved to its corresponding suit pile if the rank of the card at the top of the stack is less than that card.
    3. Only a king can be placed in a space not occupied by any other card in the building piles.

    4. Ordered cards at the bottom of a building pile, in the deck, or in the suit pile can be moved to another building pile if there is a card in the ordered sequence that has an opposite color and a rank one less than the card at the top of the destination stack.

Example Steps

  1. Move available cards on building piles
  2. Check and cycle through deck
  3. Move to suit piles

Windows Multitasking









We will now move on to more advanced features on the computer. We suggest that you open a program called Notepad.

To Open Notepad

  1. First click start
  2. Move up to Programs
  3. Go to Accessories
  4. Click Notepad


The minimize button is on the left. Click on this button to cause the window to become a button on the task bar.

The maximize/restore button is the middle button. This button actually toggles between two different buttons. Click on the maximize button
to make the window its largest size. Click on the restore button
to return the window to its original (medium) size.

The close button is on the right. Click on this button to close the window. This closes whatever program or document was in the window!

Working with Windows

Each program or object that you open appears in its own window (a rectangular area on the screen). These windows open on top of each other, so you may need to make some adjustments to be able to see the window in which you want to work. At the top right of each window you will see three buttons. These allow you to minimize, maximize or restore, or close the window.

How to switch between applications using the minimize feature and the Taskbar.

You can open more than one program at a time on your computer. This is called multitasking. There is a simple and easy way to organize all the tasks (or all of the programs that are running). There are basically four different buttons that you’ll use to organize tasks. The first button is the programs’ buttons is on the taskbar. The Taskbar, again, is all the way at the bottom of your screen. It usually is grey, but it can also be blue, green, red, and almost any other color you want it to be.

Notice how the “Calculator” program is in focus. You can tell because it has a blue title bar while the “Notepad” program is unfocused because it is grayish. Also, in the taskbar, the program in focus always has its button pressed inward.

Multitasking Exercise

1. First open a program (try notepad). Notice how the name of the program is displayed in a button on the taskbar. (This is true for most programs, however certain programs (commonly intense full-screen games) will take up the entire screen and hide the taskbar.

2. Next press the minimize button at the top. See how the program disappears on your screen, but its button with its name is still in the taskbar.

3. Now open another program (try calculator). Minimize that program also. See how it also is still in the Taskbar. The Taskbar always shows you what you have opened, even if you have minimized it and it is no longer on the screen. You can open as many programs as you want. To make the program reappear, left click its name and it will pop up.

4. Try clicking on the other program on the taskbar. See how that program comes up too (probably over the other one). Now click on the other program’s window. It will come to the front. When you are done with a task/program, just simply click on the “X” button and it will close.

Using Scroll Bars

The screen may have as many as two scroll bars available. The scroll bars allow you to bring new information into view on the screen. The scroll bars have a black arrow at each end and a square or rectangle in the area between the two arrows. The vertical scroll bar is located on the right edge of the screen. The horizontal scroll bar is located toward the bottom of the screen.

 Use the vertical scrollbar to:

  • Move up or down a line at a time (or a small distance), click once on the up or down arrow.
  • Move up or down several lines at a time, click and hold the up or down arrow.

  • Move up or down a portion of the screen, click and drag the scroll box (the square or rectangle in the middle of the arrows) up or down.
  • Move up or down a screen at a time, click in the light gray area above or below the scroll box.


To use the horizontal scrollbar to:

  • Move left or right a small distance, click once on the left or right arrow.
  • Scroll left or right a larger distance, click and hold the left or right arrow.
  • Move left or right a portion of the screen, click and drag the scroll box left or right.
  • Move left or right a screen at a time, click to the left or right of the scroll box.

“Pull Down” Menus

“Pull Down” Menus are in many different applications. They offer a neat, organized way to perform functions. Inside the “Pull Down” Menu, there are different features and functions that can be accessed, depending on the type of program that you are using. “Pull Down” Menus are grouped by categories, depending on their function. Most programs have certain categories such as “File,” “Edit,” and “Help.” The File “Pull Down” Menu provides features that deal with the program and how it operates. As an example, in Notepad, you can save a document, open a file, print a document or exit Notepad by using “Pull Down” menu.

The Edit “Pull Down” Menu allows one to modify text, find objects and words, and so on. Select the Help “Pull Down” Menu provides help when you have questions, whether it’s in a manual, strategy guide, troubleshooting tips, a wizard, or any other application.

 To operate a “Pull Down” Menu, just left click the name of the menu, for instance, File, and then click on the entry that you desire on the list and the operation will be executed, or carried out.




Working With Text

Working with text is also known as word processing. Word processors include Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, Microsoft Works, Word Pad, and Notepad. Word processors work nearly the same as a typewriter. The flexibility of a word processor is its true value. With a typewriter, if you make an error on a document, you would probably need to retype the entire paper or use the special white tape. Using word processor, you can add, remove, and replace text anywhere without needing to retype anything. The word processor will automatically space and format your paper. You can make multiple copies of a paper without needing to go to a copier.
In a word processor, when the mouse pointer is within text, the pointer will be in the shape of an I-beam. When you click the mouse to position the cursor in the text, the cursor will change to a blinking vertical bar that indicates the insertion point.

Inserting Text

Use the mouse or arrow keys to place the insertion point within the text at the point where the text is to be inserted.

Type the desired text.


Often, you might want a printed version (a hard copy) of your letter or document to take with you. Most word processing programs make it easy to print.

First, make sure you have a printer hooked up. If you don’t have a printer, ask a trusted technology-savvy person to help you get one.

To print an open file using printing options:

1. From the FILE menu, choose PRINT.

2. In the dialog box that opens (similar to the one on the right), select the printing options that you want to apply.

3. Click on the OK button (or Cancel button if you are not ready to print).

To print an open file using DEFAULT printing options, most programs include a Print button on the toolbar. It may look something like this:. (In most programs, using the toolbar Print button will automatically print all of the pages of the file).


You have just completed the Computer Basics Class! Please keep this packet handy for any quick-reference questions you might have in the future. It is also a good idea to practice the different exercises occasionally. Congratulations and have fun with the computer! Most importantly, you are ready to learn how to use the Internet, email, and social networking. There are specific Net Literacy lessons to help teach each of these skills.
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Microsoft’s Digital Literacy Curriculum

Whether you are new to computing or have some experience, the Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum will help you develop a fundamental understanding of computers. The courses help you learn the essential skills to begin computing with confidence, be more productive at home and at work, stay safe online, use technology to complement your lifestyle, and consider careers where you can put your skills to work. The Microsoft Digital Literacy curriculum has three levels. The Basic curriculum features a course called A First Course Toward Digital Literacy. This course teaches the value of computers in society and introduces you to using a mouse and the keyboard. The Standard curriculum features five courses that cover computer basics; using the internet and productivity programs; security and privacy; and digital lifestyles. The Advanced curriculum features four courses that cover creating an e-mail account, creating a great resume, searching for content on the World Wide Web and social networking. These five courses are available in three versions that use examples and screenshots from different versions of Windows and Microsoft Office. Version 3 uses examples and simulations from Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010, version 2 uses examples and simulations from Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007, and version 1 uses examples and simulations from Windows XP and Microsoft Office 2003. All courses are free of charge.

Explore the courses at:

Australia’s Digital Hubs Directory

Australia has been a leader in broadband adoption by creating the Department of Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy.  This government ministry is providing $13.6m USD available in grants to communities to increase broadband adoption and digital inclusion programs.

A component of Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), the Digital Hubs Program is an initiative tied to these grants to aid local communities to improve their digital literacy skills and increase their broadband adoption.

The Digital Hubs Directory was created to facilitate communities applying for these NBN grants and organizing digital inclusion initiatives.  This site provides information about the impact of broadband-based solutions regarding topics ranging from health to education, and home uses to business solutions.

This directory allows NGOs and other organizations to add their best practices and broadband-based successes to the growing list that provides detailed information about and how they impact and support Australia’s NBN

Visit the Digital Hubs directory at: or read more about it at: