8th graders in Preston Minyard’s Fundamentals of Technology class are learning the skills they will need in high school and beyond.
“What we’re trying to do is prepare them for writing papers, giving presentations,” he said.
This information technology class does cover the Microsoft Office programs students will undeniably need for high school, college, and career, but the students don’t just learn about the software – they learn about life.
“This class prepares them for basic things they will deal with the rest of their life – saving, 401Ks, what is your paycheck, how much can I afford every month, budgets,” said Preston.
The assignments they are completing to learn the programs provide opportunities for students to learn about many related topics. In fact, one project will utilize the latest media phenomenon: podcasting.
“They’re talking about lunches, giving their opinions on that, dress code. I can’t say I’m changing it, but if you some good reasons let’s talk about it and see what happens. Maybe we can get the administration involved and listen to the students,” said Preston.
Most importantly, this class gives students who grew up with phones and tablets the opportunity to use a desktop computer.
“I’m not really good at computers. I’m only used to the Chromebooks. I’ve never worked with the bigger computers,” said Nicole.
Students who are all thumbs when texting are now having to put all ten digits to work as they learn to type on a true keyboard.
“It’s a lost art,” said Preston.
Using the online learning platform Cengage, students are able to work on at their own pace and turn in assignments digitally. Nicole said her favorite project so far was making a birthday card in Word.
“You can have fun making your own things because it doesn’t have to be exactly the same as everyone,” she said.
For their final task, students will have to write a paper in Word, create a spreadsheet in Excel, and put it all together in PowerPoint. If they do well in the class and can pass a competency test at the end of the year, these 8th graders will get a head start on their high school credits.
“That’s a big incentive for some,” said Preston.
Fundamentals of Technology is offered as an elective class. To find out more about Academics at Hale Junior High, click here.