students building computers, career skills
Press of Atlantic City
November 26, 2001
By DIANE DAMICO
Education Writer, (609) 272-7241
A 15,000 grant
provided the training and equipment for 15 students to build their
own computers at Buena Regional High School in Atlantic County.
Vista Township - The first time students in the Build
Your Own PC class tried to build a computer, it was hard.
know anything, junior Julius Forrest said.
here almost an hour past the end of class, teacher Joe Dilks
time the students built a computer, they were done in half the time.
one was easier, Forrest said. And the third one was
a whole lot easier.
good Dilks said, because when the students take their computers
home, theyll be on their own troubleshoot problems.
The 15 computers,
now almost complete, are part of a special evening class at Buena
Regional High School designed to teach students a skill that could
lead to a career in the future, but will provide them with a computer
working with the Atlantic County Educational Technology Training
Center at The Richard Stockton College or New Jersey, received a
15,000 ACE technology grant from the Department of Education to
offer the Build Your Own PC program to 15 students,
some of whom might not be able to afford a computer at home.
coordinator of the ACE technology center at Buena Regional, said
he did have to do some recruiting to get students interested.
we began advertising for it around Sept. 11," he said.
But now that
word has gotten out, people are coming out of the woodwork wanting
to sign up.
Bianco said she thinks students would be interested in learning
to build a computer even if they do not get to keep it.
that we would learn something we wouldnt normally get to learn,"
she said. Getting a free computer was a bonus.
a freshman, didnt even realize he would get to keep the computer
when he signed up.
It just sounded
interesting, he said, and I thought it might be a career
in the future.
His mom, Terri,
has been coming to class with him, but admits shes more intimidated
that he is.
hard to believe we were going to get to keep the computer, but its
a great class, she said.
loves to take things apart and put them back together.
The course is
being taught by Joe and Jeff Dilks. Joe Dilks teaches industrial
technology at Egg Harbor Township High School, which offers a similar
class for students.
EHT has a three-course
program with the goal of qualifying students to take the A+ certification
exam. They build and rebuild old school district computers. About
75 students currently are in the program.
can get that A+ certification, they can get a job making 35,000
to start," Joe Dilks. "If they keep going, they can make
a lot more.
The Buena students
have to do eight hours of interning in the ACE computer lab, plus
attend the series of three-hour classes to build the computers,
before they can take their computer home. They have the hardware
complete, and are finishing up software.
been glitches, however.
had a major problem that took three nights of headaches to solve,"
Joe Dilks said. "It turned out to be a problem with a cable.
But its good to have problems, because thats how the
students learn to troubleshoot.
Joe Dilks said
most of the students had some previous computer knowledge, but mostly
about how to use a computer, not build one. The class computers
have 900-megahertz processors, 15-inch monitors, speakers, soundcards
and video-cards and Window 98 software.
this up really fast," Joe Dilks said. "I teach almost
the same course in the masters degree program at Stockton,
and adults are always more intimidated about touching all the parts."