Thursday, February 14, 2008

Teens Teach Computer Classes

High school students at Baltimore's Marriotts Ridge High School stay after school to volunteer their time to teach computer classes to other students and community members. Among the offerings are courses in website design, Photoshop, and general Microsoft application programs. The volunteers write and implement lesson plans, serving as teachers, developing valuable professional skills. Middle school students taking the classes report gaining valuable skills in anticipation of their high school studies.

Photo of Sammy Fishman, 8th grader, Mount View Middle School, who says learning programming "challenges my abilities." (Sun photo by Doug Kapustin / January 24, 2008)

For more information about the community service project, read the this article in the The Baltimore Sun:,0,6364191.story

What do you think of high school student volunteering their time in this way? What do you see as the advantages?


Lisa T. said...

I think this is a smart idea! Many high schools are now requiring volunteer community service as part of the graduation requirement. Why not use what the high school students know and enjoy doing while they're developing important professional skills. These experiences to teach others gives high school students an opportunity to explore possible career options, as well as the benefits of volunteering and 'giving back' to their community. Not only does this help the high schoolers prepare for their futures, but it helps the middle schoolers prepare for high school. Everyone benefits from the experience!

Sharon Kirby said...

I completly agree with you lisa! It's a fantastic way to have students volunteer their time and feel valuable to the community. I think that more schools should do something like this. I would love to attend one of those courses. I have a hard time fitting into my schedule courses to learn certain programs, but if this program were available at my school I could learn more about whats out there. The students would have a great time "showing off" what they can do. It's amazing how the younger generation has such a capability to learn programs quickly and advance beyond the program. When did that happen!? I'm only 26 and I already feel like I'm behind in a lot of technology. I'm working hard to not fall behind, but how do you keep up? This program could be a great tool for that not to occur.

Margaret H. said...

I think it’s a great idea. Many high school students know so much more about computers then the teachers do. I know there have many times when I need help with a computer problem and I turn to my students. At the same time it will allow the students the experience of teaching. This may allow them to realize some of the difficulties that we as teachers have. It will also get students who may not be involved in the school the chance to get involved. I’m sure the students would love to say that they are teaching teachers something. It will show students that teachers don't know everything.

Melissa Jordan said...

I think this is a great idea. As Lisa stated, many high schools are requiring community service as a graduation requirement, however, National Honor Society also requires community service hours. The students love to spend time on the computer so what a good use of applying something they enjoy doing. At the same time,they will feel that they are accomplishing even more by helping someone and allowing someone to share in their knowledge. I also agree with Lisa that it allows them to see if they like teaching or like working a lot with computers, as a possible career. Finally, it keeps them occupied after school instead of getting into trouble and it is something positive for those kids that aren't involved in sports. I think this is a great idea and would like to see it take off in all the high schools

Aaron said...

I don't know about other schools, but in Hartford the students are required to have 60 service hours in order to graduate. At our school we used to have a Mouse Squad. It was a group of students who stayed after school to help fix the school's computers and anyone else's computers that were in need of repair. It was a great idea, but the guy who ran it left the school and it fell apart. We don't have anyone who is willing to take on the responsibility right now (more like confident enough). But I do think it is a great idea, and gives them a great sense of accomplishment

Debbie said...

Continuing from Aaron's comment, I think that the real success of programs that encourage students to take the lead as teachers is when they are student-led. Youth culture engages with technology of all kinds on a regular basis (anything from a cell phones and ipods to computers and gaming systems - sometimes all these are rolled into one!) - there is no reason why they cannot take the lead to start a program that engages their personal interests. While teacher-supervision is helpful, teachers do not have to be the leaders of these groups. With the right direction, students are more than able to come together on the topic of technology to teach those who do not know about it (my mom doesn't know how to send or receive text messages!). More than for community service - I think students should get paid to teach these kinds of classes!

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