HELP FOR TEACHING DIGI

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I remember the first time someone asked me if I could show them how to scrap digitally. I was excited at the prospect of sharing my new love with someone else but I was really at a loss of how to do it. In the end, I did more of a “watch what you can do” lesson that “this is how you do it”. It went okay. I repeated the process with a few more people, with varying degrees on how much they got what I was trying to say. I mean really, how do you teach someone to scrap in an hour (which is what they seemed to want!)

A few months after that I taught my first (and only!) “organized” class. We did it in the computer lab at the school where we worked (I had the IT guy DL a free trial of PSE on all the computers) and I tried to show others how to scrap. I didn’t do a very good job. I will say, though, that at least one person got it enough that a few months later she really got into it and became a fabulous scrapper (oh yes, that’s you amazing steinygirl!) She has since gone on to teach others and I get so excited to see the domino effect of people teaching others.

I bet some of you have taught others. I bet a lot MORE of you would LOVE to try but you don’t know where to start! My feeble attempts are nothing worth immitating but I did find two people in the scrapping world who have done some great teaching. They were kind enough to share some of their experiences!

First up we have Andrea Graves. She is great scrapper and all around sweet gal! Secondly, we have Steph from right here at THE DAILY DIGI. Both have done some teaching and are willing to answer some questions for all of us!

question1

ANDREA: A friend of mine was doing it and I begged her to give me a one hour crash course, after that, I knew I was hooked and I could hardly sleep for a week because the wheels in my head would not stop turning with all the possibilities digi offered – I knew I had to learn more – so I did and it became my passion!

STEPH: It just sort of evolved over a period of time (I have been using the computer to do “hybrid” layouts since my oldest was born in 1996), but it really took off for me after reading a Memory Makers special issue on “computer scrapbooking”.

question2

ANDREA: 2.5 years

STEPH: Doing whole layouts on the computer since fall of 2003, but like I said using computers on my layouts since 1996…I really need to scan some of my first hybrid layouts, it would be fun and probably funny too.

question3

ANDREA: First off, I wished there had been a class for me on Photoshop Elements (PSE) and there was nothing of the kind. I had to learn stuff the hard way, and I wanted to make it easier for others by offering a class. And there was a big demand for it in my area.
STEPH: I love this hobby so much that I really wanted to share it and I also really wanted some “real life” friends that would understand what it is I am so excited about.

question4

ANDREA: A little over a year

STEPH: I have been teaching since I started digi scrapping myself, but officially doing classes and workshops for just over a year.

question5

ANDREA: A good friend suggested I go teach a class thru our local city, so I called the city up and they said they wanted me. Since then I have taught 6 classes thru the city almost all filled to the maximum capacity.

STEPH: I had been working with my local community college for over a year before they finally decided to add it to the schedule. I would just call them up periodically and ask them if they would be interested in a class like this. Sometimes they would refer me to the Parks and Rec. (which I wasn’t really interested in) and sometimes they would say they would think about it. When they did decide to add it to the schedule, I hadn’t spoken with them for a few months.

question6

ANDREA: Since my class is at the local city building, they do not have a computer lab, so people have to have their own laptop and they have to have a copy of PSE on their computer. I actually like this, because if people are going to take a PSE class they need to commit by owing a copy of the program, otherwise there is no point to come take the class. Then I have a projector on the wall with my laptop, and I have lots of handouts.

STEPH: Hands on. With the classes at the community college, it was great because we had a computer lab and everyone was on the same platform and all using the same version of PSE. My computer was hooked up to the overhead and they could see everything I was doing as I was doing it.

In the more informal settings, people usually have a laptop, or I let them work on mine. Or, I have even gone to people’s homes and taught them on their computer (which is actually the most difficult to do). Once in a while people will come without a computer and watch and take notes.

question7

ANDREA: 15. This works for me, if someone is just starting out teaching, I recommend not doing more then 10 for the first class to get a good feel for it.

STEPH: 2-12

question8

ANDREA: Yes, I give handouts and materials. I create all my handouts and have products on a cd that have been donated by certain designers and used with permission.

STEPH: When I have taught at the community college, I have done handouts with tutorials and step-by-step instructions. I also do a handout with websites I like, etc. I made these myself using screenshots and PowerPoint. Things change so fast in digital though, that I have found it better to just give resources instead of reworking my handouts each class.

question9

ANDREA: Just a basic background on digi, I have a BIG soapbox about pirating and not doing it, and actually have them sign a paper saying they will not pirate! Discuss what we will learn in the coming weeks, etc.
STEPH: After some trial and error, I have found the best way to teach people is having them use a template. They can usually finish a layout in a class and leave feeling successful instead of frustrated. The same principles used for building a layout with a template can transfer over to building a layout without a template.

I always hit piracy hard and have found it necessary to tell people over and over and over. It is always surprising to me how many people really think it is okay.

question11

ANDREA: Last year I taught 3 different sessions: Winter, Spring & Fall. This year I am teaching Winter and Fall. I left Spring out because my kids have sports during that time this year. My class is 5 weeks for one night a week for 1.5 hours.

STEPH: Not that often anymore. I still get people asking me to do workshops etc., (which I will do once in a while) but, I have found that people aren’t really willing to pay as much as the community college wants to charge (I had no say in the price for the class)…they don’t really want to pay anything actually and so I have to weigh the time it takes to do a class (which is a lot of time) vs. the time that could be spent with my family and doing other things.

question12

ANDREA: Maybe practice teaching some small groups first for free, I did this with 5 small groups thru my church (crowded around my computer at my home) and then they all wanted more, and my class evolved from that. Be prepared for all kinds of people to want to come learn – I have had a blast with it and loved my students! This class I even have two men, the first time for males to ever take from me, they both are signed up with their wives and it’s been a blast so far! I love teaching.

And remember, you will have to be patient, I have to repeat things sometimes 3 times for some people to grasp it, after awhile you get used to it. Also, plan on teaching basics, don’t get too advanced. Instead, make intermediate and advanced classes. I specialize in beginning to get people started and occasionally offer and intermediate/advanced class. But I prefer to stick with beginning for the most part. I love seeing people’s eyes light up with the possibilities digi has to offer! And many people feel very intimidated by digi so it’s good to stick to the basics and get them a strong foundation to build on and give them forums and other places to go for resources to learn more. I also recommend books for more detailed steps and instructions then what I cover in my classes.

STEPH: Start with some small groups first and try different things and see what kind of a format will work for you and those learning.

question13

ANDREA: My city finds people for my class by advertising with flyers, so that is very lucky for me. Also, our city has the best program for recreation classes in the county and people come from cities all over to the class. If you do a good job, word will get around and people will tell their friends. I also have a small website. If you have a city that offers classes or a nearby High School that offers continuing education I would recommend going there and seeing if you could use their computer lab or a room and have people supply their own laptops (which is easier when they are on their own computers and hard to find labs with the right software).

STEPH: There are lots of options with community centers, parks and rec., and continuing education. I loved having a computer lab to teach in, it really was an ideal situation and the community college did all of the advertising for me, which was GREAT, but I only made a very small amount of what they charged. Many churches will allow their spaces to be rented for things like this as well.

question14

ANDREA: I feel like it is very affordable, I charge $60 and the city keeps a percentage of it that is fair to cover them advertising the class and allowing us to use the beautiful facility we have.

STEPH: The community college charged and I really need to start charging when I do my little workshops…haha.

question15

ANDREA: Yes for PSE

STEPH: At the community college, everyone was on the same program, but by the end of the class, they were bringing their laptops and I was teaching them how to do things in CS vs. PSE. I have also done workshops where people are using PSE and PSCS, since I have used both, it’s not too big of a deal, but it can get confusing to switch back and forth.

question16

ANDREA: I don’t know what to say on that one, for me, teaching is just in my personality and digi is what I love, it has all been a blast and I have been very blessed to have wonderful people sign up for my classes and have had an awesome time teaching them. I feel very fortunate to be able to do this and love every minute of it! 🙂

STEPH: I wish I would have told people (over and over) that they will only be successful if they are willing to go home and try what they learned. I also wish I would have given homework assignments for the workshops, because a lot of people would walk out of the class and not do anything all week. Then, the next week I would have to re-teach the previous weeks lesson.

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Thank you SO MUCH Steph and Andrea for taking the time to answer all these questions. I know so many people would love to teach but just aren’t sure where to start. Hopefully this information was beneficial to them and they can step put and give it a try, even if it is just with friends. After all, who wouldn’t love to have in-real-life digi friends?

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P.S. Everything (except the stitches) used on the opening graphic and question graphics is from THE DIGI FILES 2 (including the font!) Get it HERE.