As a veteran business teacher, and former president of VBTA (Vermont
Business Teachers Association), I have many friends and colleagues who
are fabulous business teachers. Many have worked hard to stay current
in rapidly changing times. Many have fabulous program that offer
students a competitive edge, including the ability to graduate high
school with Microsoft Certifications or receive dual enrollment
college credits. These students certainly have an edge whether it be
applying for a job or working through an school/work internship. They
serve their employees well as they often bring increased productivity
by knowing their software in and out and being able to use features of
the software most users never even know exist. And they don't have to
wash dishes as work study in college.
But today's employers require more than knowing version 2.1 of any
software and the excellent business/computer teachers (and other
teachers) that I know find ways to teach their students lifelong
learning tech skills that transfer between software products. One way
I use to do that was to have different products loaded on my computers
(Wordperfect (yeah I'm old); Word; Open Office) and require the
students perform tasks using a variety of different software. One of
my favorite authors was Iris Blanc who use to write "generic" books
that could be used with any software. i.e.
Made the books last a lot longer, too.
Then I got away from books altogether and went to project based
learning with students being able to use any software that got the job
Recently I was asked by VBTA to do a presentation of Google Docs.
Only 1 business teacher in the audience had ever used these tools.
They were blown away by the collaborative power of these tools and
couldn't believe how much more there was to learn in times of
There has been lots of discussion recently in my circles about "what
really is the difference between 21st century skills and any century
skills" and one of these differences is how rapid change has become.
I'm not sure it is ever realistic for us to ever expect us to keep
your kids "trained" again; but we can teach them to be life long
learners through project based approaches that effectively integrate
Recently a junior high team asked me if I would introduce Publisher to
their kids because they wanted to make brochures for a Math Project
they were doing. I wasn't available that day. Guess what ... The
kids figured it out!
Our schools need to offer both (1) a place for kids to just jump in
and use the tools in project based activities that integrate
technology across the curriculum AND 2) a place for kids who want to
get more advanced training in the software industry uses to do so.
It's sad to see so many business programs get cut. It's also sad to
see so many kids graduate high school without basic tech skills.
So, to my fellow business educator, Luis, kudos to you for trying to
keep your program current and up to date. And to those of you
advocating for stronger integration in today's high schools, keep it
up -- all our students will benefit.
St. Albans City School
On Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 9:04 PM, Eric Hall <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I think Bryant's point is well made: if we ARE including direct instruction
> in applications at the secondary level, we owe it to our students to
> generalize. Shouldn't the skills we foster be transferable to whatever
> applications they use in the future, or do we just assume that they will
> only be using MS products? I hope not! Students who are only taught how to
> do things one way with one program may not be as successful when confronted
> with new applications or emerging technologies.
> The other issue is authentic context: until this year I had been teaching
> 7th/8th grade "Computer Applications" classes as Luis describes in
> Woodstock: advanced WP, spreadsheets, multimedia and web skills, etc. We
> have now moved to an integrated model, where students learn and apply those
> same tech skills within core and Unified Arts curriculum. Although their
> experience may not be as consistent or continuous (indeed, for this first
> year it may even be a slight "step back") and it IS more work, ultimately we
> believe they will benefit from learning the skills when and where they have
> a "real" application for them.
> I DO understand Larry's question: are High Schools in VT requiring tech
> courses for graduation? Perhaps the question could be what level of
> integration is being achieved in grade 9-12 where courses and student
> programs are more specialized? Do students in those grades only get tech
> experience in computer classes?
> Just another 2 cents,
> Eric Hall
> Technology Coordinator
> Waterbury/Duxbury Schools
> Washington West Supervisory Union
> Waterbury, VT
> (802) 244-6100
> on 1/26/09 8:26 PM, Laurence Booker wrote:
> Thank you, Bryan, but your response doesn't answer my question.
> Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 17:25:36 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: IT Courses
> To: [log in to unmask]
> On Jan 25, 2009, at 5:10 PM, Laurence Booker wrote:
> I am interested in finding out just how many of you have
> Information Technology -- using WORD, EXCEL, POWER
> POINT, net searches, integrated technology, etc. -- as a
> graduation requirement at your schools.
> Hopefully, any requirements are for WORD PROCESSING, SPREADSHEETS, and
> PRESENTATION skills - let's teach skills not programs and not lock the
> students into a single company's products.
> Bryant Patten
> FOSSVT - April 10, 2009
> Windows Live™ Hotmail(R):…more than just e-mail. Check it out.
Work: 802 527 0565 x 3206
Cell: 802 752 6086
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