When Microsoft Word was introduced, it was a remarkable exit from prior word processing software like I had used with programmes such as WordStar and WordPerfect. During those early years, working with the keyboard and function keys was a necessary operation. There were no icons, toolbars or other display items we take for granted today. Back then; this was the domain of Apple Mac users.
The keyboard in those days was the entry way to the computer and for many it remains so. Apple Mac users were the ones who used their mice to work with their pc. Those who had IBM computers or compatibles were just fine in those days, as many of us had a typing class or could at least use the 'two finger' (or one-finger) method on our new typewriter; the keyboard. The function keys were a bit out of the way then, but they were on the keyboard and used a shift or a control key to function and this only required the use of our other hand.
Enter in MS Word. In the early days, Microsoft Word used a combination of technology from the old word processing machines in the generation prior, while adding items to it like icons, the mice and the visuals. A keyboard user was fine, as the addition of new control (ctrl) key strokes for items like 'open' and 'close' or 'print' or 'save' were now becoming ordinary part of the computer's use.
The mouse was different though. As an educator, I found it daunting to move this item while trying to type a letter. I needed at least another set of hands and at least further section of my brain to organise my workstation. As luck would have it, teaching at a secondary school would have its advantages. My students (who became my teachers) stepped in and assisted me. They taught me how to use a mouse, the right click and understand the imaging and communications potential of future generations of computers. I began to feel badly for all those in the other areas of public and private industry who were not as lucky as I.
I suppose in a way this launched me to change my part in the education profession from classroom teaching to becoming an IT trainer; that is to help those who did not have the time or cared to understand the technological future or its massive changes from generation to generation (a generation is two years in computing btw!). The kids seem to be picking it up so fast, faster than we as teachers or as any other end-user growing up in prior generations.
As Microsoft Word has led the revolution in business computing, it has it forced the 1990s keyboard oriented user, myself included, to move away from the keyboard and focus more on the mouse and the interface. Why, because the programme had become more of a design tool; word processing as we had known it was gone, probably beginning with the mid 1990s until the 2007 version where as we all discovered there was a designing grid hiding behind the page. And to make matters more difficult, the software requires a knowledge of horizontal and vertical spacing requirements only print shops had knowledge to in past years. (A quick note: if you liked your maths classes, this version is perfect for you.)
Why is this important? Because, we have become the print shop itself. No need to take all the word processing copy to the printer up the street who turned our black and white copy into colourful sales letters, company newsletters, corporate magazines and financial reports. MS Word is a one stop shop for all your printing needs. All you need is a good colour printer, a bit of MS Word training and you are streets ahead of the competition.
Mitchel Ferguson 11.2.2012
In : IT Training
Tags: computer training microsoft word word design word 2010 beginning computers belfast training wordprocessing aonghus it services belfast northern ireland