When the kids come in with files from Office 2010 and Mac Office we always have issues. Our machines have Windows XP and Office 2003. How do we cope?
1. Google Docs is your friend. In almost any situation, Google Docs will take a file and open it so that a student can edit, print, save in another format.
2. Teaching students how to save in another format is NOT a waste of time but a time saver when the going gets tough. We prefer Rich Text because that format is available in all the platforms with all the software.
3. Emailing files can help provide evidence that the student had the work, they just can’t open it today. If we get the chance we try to ask them to copy and paste the document into their message, rather than attach it. Then we can copy and paste into our available word processing program or print directly from email.
4. Open Office is important for those students who have a computer but no money for software. Become familiar with it so you can help.

Coping with out of date technology is the fine art of making it work for your patrons. They can struggle to make technology work too, they just don’t obsess about it. They find a way around it. Take their attitude and make it your own.