WICshops offer hands-on technology lessons

Every few months, it seems as if there is a new electronic gadget released to the public with never-before-seen technological innovations, or generational upgrades to previously released devices. If you’re not a techie or a 10-year-old born into the touch-free generation, it can be hard to keep up.

But the technology-challenged should have no fear: The David B. Weigle Information Commons (WIC) is here to help you polish your hardware and software skills.

Located on the first floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, the technology hub hosts free workshops, or “WICshops,” for Penn students, faculty, and staff of all skill levels.

This month brings an array of ever-popular workshops.

On Friday, May 10, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., an Adobe InDesign class will teach members of the Penn community how to use the desktop publishing and design software to create magazine and newspaper layouts.

From Apple, iMovie enables operators to easily browse and watch videos, edit audio, add effects, and share videos on social media. On Thursday, May 16, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, the “iMovie” WICshop provides a hands-on introduction to video creation.

Adobe Photoshop is a graphics program that helps users enhance their photos with easy-to-use picture editing options. On Tuesday, May 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, the WICshop will cover “Photoshop Basics,” an introduction into how to open image files, use the toolbox and palettes, convert formats, and manage multiple layers of images.

The iPad, the tablet computer, released in 2010, has replaced the desktop computer in many households. The WICshop “iPads: Beginners,” scheduled for Thursday, May 30, from 2 to 3 p.m., will consist of a short, 30-minute workshop on introductory topics related to the iPad, followed by a half-hour Q&A. Attendees can bring their iPad or work on one of the devices available for in-class use.

Anu Vedantham, director of the WIC, says that during the last fiscal year, there were 259 public workshops and 1,938 attendees.

“One aspect I enjoy most about the workshops is that I never know who will be in the class,” she says. “Sometimes there’s a student from the Medical School in class with Penn staff and some freshmen students. Technology is new for all of us. Learning together makes the process better for us all.”

Three full-time staff members, two part-time staff members, and a large mix of graduate students and guest presenters teach the workshops, which are held year-round.

The full listing of May workshops, including details and registration information, are available on the Weigle Information Commons website. Walk-ins are welcome.