Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Dina Meneely
Malta Chamber 

Learning the basics

Free class teaches tech basics, more classes to follow in the future


January 18, 2017

Suzanne Koss and Penny Mackey look at Mackey's smart phone during the Google basics class in Malta last Tuesday. Photo by Dina Meneely.

You know Google for its search engine (need to find something, just Google it), but for the 21 people that attended the January 12 class on Google basics, they learned that it offers so much more for personal, education and business use.

The free class was funded through Triangle Communication's Connected Community Challenge grant, in partnership with the Hi-Line Technology Committee, Malta Schools, City of Malta, PhillCo and the Malta Chamber of Commerce. Kelly McCann of Malta School's led the class, assisted by Dennis Robinson from PC Hospital and Eric Wilke of Todd's Technology Store.

The attendees, learned about the history and future of Google. Think, Jetson's with devices that you can talk to that will turn lights on/off, adjust your thermostat and even drive your car, as well as play your music and search the internet.

Next we got into the details of a Google account security. Kelly provided easy tips such as using a recovery email or phone number; so that you are never locked out of your account or creating a very strong password that is less likely to be hacked by utilizing special characters such as an asterisk, exclamation point or dollar sign.

The class looked at Google Calendar, where you can share your calendar with your friends, coworkers and family. By using it, you can show where you will be and whether you are available. You can also share editing permissions with others, so they can add events to the same calendar. How great would that be for church groups or organizations, that way everyone can add what they need, and you know who can meet, when.

The "cloud" was a big part of the class discussion. When you are in Google's Drive, you are able to save documents, pictures and other files to the "cloud," meaning that the files save out on Google's servers, and not on your own computer. This way, if your computer melts down, gets broken, or infected with a virus; you don't lose your pictures. Further, since you can log into your Google account from anywhere with an internet connection (your phone or tablet too), you can open those pictures and files whether you are home, at work, at school or on vacation. No more thumb drives, no more CDs to lose, just everything accessible from wherever you are. The best part, Google is one of the most secure companies and storage in their cloud Drive is free.

Google maps had the class chuckling and checking out Malta. Google Maps has options to see a traditional map, topographic map or street view with actual pictures where you can "drive" around and see a town. We saw familiar streets and buildings, and even saw our own cars (don't worry Google blurs faces, identifying features and license plates)!

Each student took something different away from the class, whether it was to go home, move pictures off of their tablets and into the cloud, use Google Docs to collaborate with their co-workers in real time, or use Google Calendar to get more organized. Anyone who creates a free account at or can access all of these features. Try it out, and see where it may be able to help you.

The next class will cover the features of Windows 10. It will be on February 23 at 6 p.m. at the Malta High School Computer Lab. Contact Dina Meneely at the Chamber, 406-654-1776 or Ashley Stuart at PhillCo, 406-654-5525 to RSVP.

Other upcoming classes will hopefully include Word, Excel, and Understanding Your Gadgets. Stay tuned for details.


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