CURRICULUM WRITING PROPOSAL
COURSE TITLE : Tech Scouts
COURSE SUMMARY : A new after-school club, located in the High School, which meets two hours a day twice a week to recondition donated and excessed computer systems for deployment in district schools.
COURSE GOALS :
- Make more computer stations available to students as “computer clusters”
- Make student trainers available to teachers for help integrating specific applications in instruction
- Make student “cyber-librarians” and web designers available to support classroom and district web design (supervised by appropriate computer teacher).
- Give students “School To Work” training in preparation for a career in technical support services.
- Enable the donation of computers to the district without requiring district technician time
- Explore the possibility of reconditioning older computers for home use by disadvantaged families
- Train students as A/V helpers
- Establish “Job Shop” for requests for A/V, video production and tech support, as approved.
This a proposal to develop a course with an after-school activity whose focus is school-to-work, community service and technology skills: developing student knowledge about maintaining computers and associated software in a school or office environment, and their application of this knowledge in service to the school community. The name “Tech Scouts” conveys the culture of the club: an “elite corps” of individuals with specific training specialties who work together as a unit. The academic course could also be entitled "Computer Support Internship".
In this initial proposal, the two structures, class and club, are conceived as complementary. The class offers a legitimacy and rigorous course of study that would be more difficult for a club to establish, while the club offers greater flexibility, adaptability, and esprit de corps than can easily achieved in a classroom. As the initiative moves forward, each structure will of course require separate and increasingly differentiated development. The basic format of both class and club are similar (with respect to Computer Use):
- First, students learn the basics of maintaining the computers and software they are likely to encounter in the school/office environment, practicing those skills in a lab set up for that purpose. This background content and skill set is obtained through “elective modules” (similar to merit badge training) - some will be offered to the entire club, others will be offered to students who wish to focus in that area. “Hardware maintenance” may interest some students; “Powerpoint tutorials” others.
- Second, as they progress, students demonstrate their capacities to each other and to their teacher/leader, earning their way through steps of sequential recognition (merit badges in Scout lingo). These students will be completing and formatting systems and developing support materials in-house. They will also develop a full system for receiving, responding to and evaluating tech support requests.
- Third, students who are judged to be sufficiently knowledgeable can respond to tech support requests and leave the lab in response to calls for help from the community they service, and perform regular self-evaluations with corresponding additional training from the teacher. Repair or solution will be attempted on-site, but if necessary equipment can be brought back to the lab for in-house work.
DESCRIPTION OF COURSE ACTIVITIES
Tech Scout Activity Possibilities
- Wear districtive ID badges, providing themselves with a “passport” that makes it easier to perform house calls on machines in classrooms.
- Create and maintain a database of the calls they receive and the disposition of each case, using an online bulletin board such as yahoogroups.
- Play a role in designing the rubrics used to define each merit badge and status level, and those used to evaluate their accomplishments as tech students;
- Discuss and role play the various problematic situations they may run into while out on service calls, and practice dealing with them in front of a jury of peers.
- Organize and present a school-based "Cyberfair" (computer / internet showcase)
- Collect and digitize student work, and prepare web sites to showcase that work via links on the district web site.
- Run a table or booth at a Computer Expo, using the opportunity to publicize their work, gain recognition for the district, and gather donations to support their activities;
- Take an active part in designing and acting as junior counselors for a Computer Camp, held as part of a summer school offering;
- Link up with area businesses like Glenco and Questar that either provide computer-related services to other businesses, or are otherwise computer based, gathering support and mentoring, and leading, often, to internships, scholarships, and jobs;
- Start their own scout-businesses, such as website design for individuals and businesses, or assembling computers from parts.