In all our work which we would describe as “Digital Skills”, we’ve found that one of the biggest barriers to people doing more is confidence.
When Teri, a local arts practitioner who we’ve known for a long time, told us she was having trouble with her laptop computer we first helped her remotely diagnose a hard disk that was probably starting to fail. She asked whether we could replace it for her.
Instead, we told her what she needed to buy, and invited her to come into our lab so we could help her replace it herself. We did some research to find out how to open the laptop case safely and assembled the tools we’d need.
After some initial work to back her old drive up thoroughly (that took a long time) we got everything ready to make the replacement which we did yesterday.
This is Teri making the upgrade herself, with coaching (and photography) from Liz and Sam, our electronics whizz, nearby to act as a safety-net.
We asked Teri why she was happy to give it a try and she said that when she was younger, she wasn’t encouraged to do this sort of thing because that wasn’t what girls did. She wants to help change that.
She loves learning new skills and, not wanting to waste a perfectly good computer if it could be refurbished, thought it was important to take personal responsibility for it.
The main reason she didn’t just try it for herself at home is lack of confidence in her own skills and concerns that she might break her computer, which is vital for running her business. We can all understand that, right?
Whilst we had the laptop open we chatted through the various parts that could be candidates for simple replacement or upgrade, in future, if needed. Batteries and RAM are usually available and, often have simple connectors which makes replacement quite straightforward.
Teri was also really happy to be able to make use of a space that had all the extra tools and kit readily available without having to buy yet more stuff.
The hardware was fixed with no drama and within a short time Teri was ready to install the operating system on her brand new hard drive.
After that, it was clear up and Teri went home to add her applications and to copy back the data she had backed up.
Today, Teri’s already told us she’s seeing the benefits of her hard work and is looking forward to her 3 year old computer giving good service for longer.
We love helping people like this, when funds allow. It informs us how we can help other people more effectively and, what’s even better, we know that Teri’s new confidence will mean she’s very likely to encourage other people who think they can’t do things, realise they can.
In the meantime – by improving existing computers, perhaps we’ll see less of this sort of waste in future…
Thanks Teri! See you again soon.