Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BDPA Southern Minnesota Takes Youth Education to the Next Level

The Student Information Technology Education & Scholarship (SITES) program has been in place for over 20 years. One of the strongest elements of SITES is the High School Computer Competition (HSCC). In recent years, the most successful HSCC teams have been trained by BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter.

One reason for success in Rochester MN is the connection that the chapter has made with the local school district. All BDPA students participating in the SITES program in Rochester MN receive credits towards their high school graduation.

Zack Garbow is the SITES Technical Coordinator for BDPA Southern Minnesota chapter. He built an AGILE prototype earlier this year to assist in teaching Southern Minnesota students while he was out in California for 3 months. Zack assigned students their home work activities and graded students via the web site. The web site has a blog that allows students and teachers to interact online at anytime of the day or night.

This year Zack is updating www.bdpastudents.com so that parents and mentors may sign onto the web site and track a specific student's progress; down to lessons assigned, lessons turned in and their individual ranking in the class. The next logical step after this is to establish individual "blogs" for student, parent, mentor and teacher interaction.

63 students enrolled in the High School Computer Science Session hosted by BDPA Southern Minnesota this year. Five of those students took home the 2008 National HSCC championship. The chapter hopes to reach student enrollment of more than 80 students in 2008-2009 session.

The primary issue has been lack of laptop computers. However, the chapter president, Nat Calvert, indicates that this issue has been resolved.

The chapter requested wireless Internet access for their classroom sessions. Wireless Internet Access via classrooms allows them scale sessions to available classrooms and teachers. There is a huge opportunity for growth since classrooms are not in use on Saturdays. If they can scale up to four (4) classrooms near the computer lab ... they can teach over 150 students at a time. That means we can teach upward of 150 students by obtaining laptops.

I wonder which of the other 49 chapters will tap into this 'best practice' from our chapter in Rochester, MN to improve the quality and quantity of student success in their geographic area? Is your chapter using creative ideas such as these in your SITES training?

1 comment:

Zack said...

Thanks for the nice writeup about our chapter and our efforts at improving our education.

We have found our web application to be an indispensable part of our education strategy. While the application is not quite ready for a national roll out, I'd be happy to set it up to be used as a pilot for another chapter. Just contact me through Wayne if your chapter is interested.