Exmouth & District

Computer skills

Once you have your computer or device, it is advisable to download the manual or instruction booklet onto your device for future reference. Search on your browser for your model number, and then download the manual. It will normally be in a PDF (portable document format) which is an easy-to read version. This should give you most of the information you need to know about how to use your particular computer or device.

Learn My Way

For general instruction or advice on basic computer skills the free “Learn My Way” website offers some useful short online courses. The link to general information and a video about it is https://www.learnmyway.com, and the list of computer subjects is at https://www.learnmyway.com/subjects. A PDF listing these topics from this website is below, right at the bottom of this webpage (scroll right down). All of the courses and materials are free, but you will need to register to access most of these resources (requiring an email address and a password of your choosing).

Skills for Tomorrow, from British Telecom

British Telecom has recently launched a major new Skills for Tomorrow initiative – https://www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow. “Empowering you with the skills you need today, for a better tomorrow”. It’s intended to benefit all generations and is free to everyone (not just BT customers). BT says it’s “a free digital skills programme to help you and 10 million people across the UK go beyond limits and reach their full potential. We’ve teamed up with amazing partners, like LinkedIn Learning and Google Digital Garage to provide online and face-to-face learning to help you thrive in a digital future.” BT has itself produced the material in the section pitched at parents, and the other partners are Learn My Way (which I recommended above) and iDEA. You may find that some of this material may be helpful to you or possibly to other members of your family or others. Again all of the courses and materials are free, but you will need to register to access most of these resources (requiring an email address and a password of your choosing).

The main category is called Navigating your daily life, and this features basic guides about being online and using computers – https://www.bt.com/skillsfortomorrow/daily-life.html. There are five main sections:

GSF Global & GSF LearnFree website

In addition, the GSF Global & GSF LearnFree website is very useful – at https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en/subjects/i-want-to (with a very short introductory video at https://edu.gcfglobal.org/en ). This offer a good range of free courses and tutorials which look really good, and they do not require any login (so no need to worry about email addresses and passwords to access these resources). Main sections of relevance here include:

The courses are free and unlike the offerings via BT, they do not required registration, which makes them very accessible.


The BBC also has some useful resources. There are a number of short videos at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p018hhbb. Its Bitesize courses on ICT are at https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/subjects/zqmtsbk (these are actually for GCSE syllabus). Some older material which is still interesting and relevant (now archived) is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/learning/subjects/information_technology.shtml.


More free courses are available via this website: https://www.thoughtco.com/online-computer-classes-1098078 (for example https://www.homeandlearn.co.uk/BC/BeginnersComputing.html). They also do not require any login (so no need to worry about email addresses and passwords to access these resources).

Free iPad training

For those of you who use iPads, I discovered a good 15 minute video introduction from Richard Hirstwood of Hirstwood Training at http://www.riverwalk.suffolk.sch.uk/ipadresources.html. This features some older iPad models, but much of this still relates to the latest versions.

One of the best ways of learning about iPads, though, is to download Apple’s iPad user guide ebook for your particular version of your iPad operating system via Apple’s iBooks store. It’s free – and comprehensive (over 300 pages for the version I use!). And there are also some other free ebooks available on this subject via Apple’s iBooks store. Also Apple offer some good online advice and support via its website at https://getsupport.apple.com/ and https://www.apple.com/uk/retail/geniusbar/,and you can connect, phone, chat or email from here.

The local Apple store in Exeter offers free advice and some training fin using its products. You may need to book this in advance, and for details see https://www.apple.com/uk/retail/princesshay/. It’s currently closed because of the coronavirus restrictions.

Additional information

You can get additional information and guidance by typing what you want to know into the Google search engine (or other search engine). Also the library has useful textbooks that you can borrow.

For keeping up to date and for all sorts of useful articles, advice, tips and how-to guides, take a look at the latest editions of the Computer Active magazine or Web User magazine. You can get the current and past editions free from the Devon Libraries’ excellent online magazine services. More detail on how to do this is in the Literature section of my Exmouth Arts website – https://www.exmoutharts.co.uk/whats-on/literature (and click or scroll down to the ejournal section at the bottom of the webpage).