Computers & Technology – Beyond the Basics

Gary Devenish

Computer Room

My classes are designed to appeal to the more advanced and adventurous user.  They are definitely not for the beginner, as we will assume a basic knowledge and a certain level of experience.  The classes will have plenty of opportunity for questions and the emphasis will be on learning how to find answers to the many hurdles that we all find when working (or playing) with computers or modern technology such as smart phones, tablets, smart TVs .  The topics listed below are not “self-contained”, we will invariably be sidetracked as a result of problems encountered by participants or issues that arise during each session. Every session will include some form of Show & Tell or discussion of recent technologies or the introduction of hardware that is out of the ordinary. The sequence of topics is a guide only. 

It is important to note that these classes are all based around Windows and Android systems.  Sorry – no Apple!

 My main aims are:

            to encourage you to be able to find your own answers and solutions;

            to increase awareness of hardware, software and technology available to you;

            to develop new interests in fields of computing that you may wish to pursue further;

            to use modern technology to a greater degree;

            to be able to understand what technology is best suited to your needs;

            to have fun!

For every session you should ensure that you have a USB memory stick. While it may not be used every session, you never know when it will be essential. 

Bring along you own laptop if you have one.  Having Windows 11 will ensure that you are in line with the computers at U3A

 You will need note-taking equipment.

These topics are be included within the program buy we will change and adapt according to class interests:

Working with files

The nitty-gritty essentials of computing.  Topics covered will include:

            Window’s File Explorer and how it works

            Creating and organising folders

            File sizes and storage space

            File types and associations

            Copying, moving, deleting and renaming files

            Shortcuts for making file manipulation easier.

            Protecting files, folders and drives

            Backing up files and folders

            Additional storage devices

            Formatting storage

Windows 11 (and other versions, too?)

These sessions are intended to explore the tools and techniques provided within the Windows 10 operating system which is common on most of today’s computers Topics covered will include:

            Using Windows Settings and Control Panel

            Personalizing your system

            Windows tips, tricks and shortcuts

            Tools and accessories within Windows 11

            Installing and Uninstalling software

            Finding solutions to problems with Windows

            Networking options, especially with Wi-Fi


No, not a trip to Bunnings!  A good look at choosing and using virtually every piece of hardware associated with modern technology.  Including printers, screens, wireless items such as mice, keyboards, etc., storage media, modem-routers, scanners and anything else that we find along the way.

            Printers, scanners, modem-routers and other peripherals

            Desktop computing vs laptops vs tablet computers … and more!

 Smart phones,  Tablets and Smart TVs

Because of the wide variety of makes and models of phones and tablets, it is impossible to cover all features and functions of all devices, so the plan will be to cover, as widely and generally as possible the following areas. Smart Tvs are meant to be our entertainment hub, but are we getting best value from our large screen? We will look at:

Differences between devices – Apple and Android systems

Device  specifications (why some cost less than $100 and others cost more than $1000)

Mobile phone plans and how to choose the best one for you


In-built apps

Installing new apps

Keeping your device and you safe

Getting stuff off and onto your device (photos, movies, etc)

What is The Cloud? Should I be using it?

Additional storage

Features of Smart TVs and how to use them

Browsing the Internet

These sessions will take the more experienced user into many different aspects of the internet and the World Wide Web.  Topics will include:

            Browsers – what are they, why are there so many and which should I use

            Really useful web sites

            Security and privacy issues

            Virtual Private Networks (VPN)

            Fine tuning browser settings

            Streaming services


Working with Images (all those pictures NOT in photo albums)

This series of classes will take the more experienced (and adventurous) user into the field of digital imaging.  We will be using a variety of free software to help you create photographic masterpieces. These sessions will cover pictures taken with digital cameras, mobile phones and tablets

Topics include:

            Storing and accessing images

            Viewing options (there are many!)

            Editing images (using free software)

            Backing up (so the next generation can relive memories)

            Printing pictures and preparing pictures for printing

            Transferring images to and from devices

            Emailing images

            Working with slides and negatives

Working with Digital Audio

Once upon a time we had vinyl records.  Then cassette tapes, and then CDs.  Now it has all changed and we will delve into the world of digital audio, streaming music, downloading  music, audio books and podcasts.  Learn how to turn your car, tablet, mobile phone, computer or TV into music central!  Learn how to  enjoy your old CDs without a CD player!

Digital Video

The old 8mm film has gone!  Beta and VHS have had their day and DVDs are struggling to survive.  We will find out how modern technology is presenting us with some amazing options in the field of video.  Our mobile phones contain enough technology to shoot a feature length movie and while we may not achieve this in class, we, hopefully, will learn enough to be able to make some great family memories.

Artificial Intelligence

Who knows where this will lead?  A field that is leaping ahead and we will attempt to put it in perspective, find positive ways to use it and hopefully learn how to avoid pitfalls and misleading aspects of this game-changing application.

About the Tutor:

Gary started his working life as an industrial chemist, then trained as a teacher and taught maths, science and chemistry before re qualifying in computing. He taught computing in the TAFE sector until retiring in 2003 and moving to Tewantin where he continues his enjoyment of teaching and all things computing (and electronic)