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By Alex Allsup, Starmont H.S.
STRAWBERRY POINT – Tech assistant. Sounds cool, right?
If you’re interested in computers, you may also be interested in becoming a tech assistant. Fixing broken computers, repairing printers that don’t work and troubleshooting tech issues for teachers, a tech assistant is that and more. They do fix computers and help teachers, but they also learn more about computers through experience.
The good news is that some high schools offer a tech assistant program.
Tech assistant is different at every school. First, all schools require something different to get into the program. At Starmont, students must take computer maintenance class before becoming a tech assistant. Trustworthiness and integrity are essential attributes to becoming a tech assistant.
Not everyone can be trusted with the privileges of a tech assistant, such as administrative passwords, imaging,and firewall settings. Another requirement is Starmont students have to be at least a sophomore to join the program. All students take the class individually with the tech teacher. This provides a one-on-one, hands-on learning experience.
Districts that support tech assistant classes vary in providing student credit. At East-Buchanan, a student must have the instructor’s consent and can join the tech program in ninth grade. At Valley High School, work is done by ninth through 12th graders. Eleventh and 12th graders earn a half a credit for the program, and everyone else receives purple cord hours. Valley is unique that it also allows students below the high school level to help every now and then. Students at Valley must have their schedule approved before they sign up for the program to ensure a credit or purple cord hours.
Oelwein does not have a program at the moment but plans on rolling out a program in conjunction with their new 1:1 initiative.
Being a tech assistant is helpful for the school staff and students. Tech assistants are important because they help in reducing the workload for the school-employed tech. Work is completed faster and allows the employed tech more time to do advanced work.
Students fix laptops and desktops while the employed tech updates the grade program with a new application so students can check their grades on their smart phones. The students also get real world experience in fixing computers and troubleshooting problems instead of relying on theoretical problems like in a computer maintenance class.
Being a tech also is helpful for students to learn the proper terminology as they document the problem for others to read. Documenting creates an understanding of the problem.
Tech also helps students in choosing a career by providing experience. It helps them with thinking on their feet by developing their higher order thinking skills.
Tech is an outstanding program to prepare you for college and the workforce because you have more of an idea of what you want to pursue in computer technology. The program improves your computer aptitude and provides a real-time lab for learning new skills and adapt to new situations.