Thursday, February 17, 2011

Coffee with a Nerd

Today was my first "Coffee with a Nerd" experience with my teachers.  The experience lasts 10 minutes and involves showing a quick tidbit of information that will help teachers complete a simple task on their computers.  The idea came from a noticeable lack of basic computer knowledge amongst my staff. They were able to complete most tasks but they weren't doing them very efficiently or they felt that completing the tasks was more of a pain than they really needed to be. I also know that, in an elementary school, time is always an issue and most teachers don't want to sit through an hour of basic training.  They typically want one or two things to take back and practice, otherwise they feel overwhelmed.

Our first session was on bookmarking.  I chose this because many teachers were having trouble remembering the address to the computer lab calendar or to the school website.  One teacher even told me that she googles the school website every morning to find it.  After I sent the email about the first session, I received several replies from teachers saying they were excited so I knew I'd have at least a few stop by this morning. Everyone showed up right on time at 7:50 with coffee cups in hand.  They enjoyed their brew while I quickly showed them how to create a bookmark, how to organize the bookmarks and how to delete them.

Overall, I think it was a success!   By the time I finished, there were about ten people in the lab and even a couple of students stopped at the door and listened.  I had several of the teachers let me know they really enjoyed it and one even asked if I was going to do it every week.  My plan was to do it once a month to start, just to see how things went but I might shake it up and do it every Thursday.  I'm even considering some kind of nerdy coffee cup prize to give out to those who participate.   We'll see how crafty I get.

One other good thing that came from it is that there were more questions asked like:

1.  How do I right click on a mac?
2.  How do I set a homepage in my browser?
3.  What are tabs and why would I use them?

Sounds like sessions for the next 3 weeks to me!


  1. Where can I get one of those coffee cups? Its awesome! Haha! Awesome Julie! Glad it went well!

  2. Julie,
    This is a great idea. I wish more "Tech Geeks" would take up this task in schools across America. There are many people who need geek assistance, but are afraid to ask.

  3. Doug, I just did a search for nerd coffee mug and it came up. :)
    Mrbeard, thanks for the comment. I think many times we focus on the new bright and shiny and forget to get back to the basics. I plan on continuing this to make sure the teachers in my school can accomplish the simple tasks.

  4. Hi Julie,
    This is a wonderful idea, and I will share it with others. I am astounded that in 2011 we can still have educators who can't do simple computer tasks like bookmarking. Do you find that teachers are reticent to admit their lack of skills? If so, these little quick lessons might provide a way for them to gain skills one bite at a long as they keep eating! ;-) Maybe a doughnut with that coffee would help!

  5. Yes, there is a large group here that will admit that they have no clue when it comes to technology. This is my first year with this group so it took a little while for it to come out but they seem pretty open about it lately.
    And yes, donuts sound like an awesome idea!! Thanks Emilia

  6. Sounds fantastic! Will use this idea for my Tuesdays (we meet every other Tue after school - 3.45 pm) But a monthly morning coffee will be a great start of the day :-)

  7. Julie, this post was tweeted at the most amazing moment. I gave a tech workshop to World Language teachers (K-12) on Saturday and several of them did not know how to save a picture from a Web page or how to type an address in the bar. Most people Googled everything. I will using your Coffee with a Geek idea next month! Thank you for the idea.

  8. Hope it is going well Catherine! Glad to pass along!