Prairieview students update computer skills

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Palliser computer technician Calvin Rempel works with members of the Vulcan Prairieview student Tech Club on replacing a damaged computer keyboard.  

VULCAN – Opportunities for hands-on learning and real-life applications of newly learned skills are always a welcome addition to the classroom. For a group of students at Vulcan Prairieview Elementary School, that applies even after the final school bell rings.

Members of the student Tech Club recently had the opportunity to work with Palliser Central Office staff to not only upgrade their computer skills but pass that knowledge on to their schoolmates.  The entire school also benefitted in that the co-operative effort resulted in an upgraded computer lab as well.

“It was really great because Jason (Kwasny, Palliser Technology Integration Specialist) could show them stuff we are still not always 100 per cent sure on,” says Heather McBride, who helps the Tech Club along with fellow teacher Danielle Booker. “And when there’s someone who’s like an expert, the kids are really focused on trying to learn it and then show Danielle and I, and then show the other kids.”

Now in its second year, the Tech Club numbers 14 students in Grades 3 to 6 who meet for an hour once a week after school. When the occasion calls for it – like the production of four videos for this last Christmas concert – they also put in extra time at recess.

Booker says the club was formed to ignite a passion in students who might not be involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. They get the chance to explore technology like coding, a variety of applications, websites and communication platforms.

“I thought it would be great to extend the club to help troubleshoot in classrooms around the school and help teachers when possible, so the student roles keep evolving to help our school community better,” she says of calling in Kwasny and Palliser computer technician Calvin Rempel.

Together the experts and club members swapped the older, desktop units in Prairieview’s computer lab with repurposed laptops. Kwasny says it’s a win-win situation with students getting quicker computers and Palliser keeping older hardware out of the landfill.

The occasion also allows students the chance to watch experts in action and that might open up possible options for future career choices.

The Tech Club members received instruction on some basic computer repairs and troubleshooting that should allow them to help others who need assistance. That can be a real bonus, says McBride, in that the teacher doesn’t have to interrupt computer lab instruction to the rest of the class to deal with a single student in need of assistance.

“It’s like you have some extra, little, back-up teachers there,” she says, adding most students enjoy learning from classmates. “They get tired of listening to us all day, so when another kid says it, it’s like, ‘oh, OK.’ ”

Interest in Vulcan Prairieview’s Tech Club continues to grow and future projects include the production of community news video segments which can be shown at school assemblies and posted on the school website.

Any Palliser school looking for assistance in starting a tech club can contact Jason Kwasny at