Something interesting is happening at some of our Catholic and other elementary schools. Children gather, under the supervision of the technology teacher, to form a technology group – or crew. They are running malware checks. They are installing updates. They are meeting together after school to learn more information about computers and their technology.

Mrs. Robin Fisher, at Christ the King Elementary in Philadelphia, PA, calls her group the Tech Crew.  They meet after school once a week and learn about a technology skill in addition to performing routine maintenance in the computer lab.

“Each week,” says Mrs. Fisher, “I try to discuss a topic related to tech – developing software, putting in an operating system or even taking apart a computer to see what’s inside.”

In addition to their meetings, the tech crew has been known to show up in class to rescue a distressed computer –usually with a malware scan or installing important updates.

Inspired by an exhibit at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (PETE&C) Mrs. Fisher brought the Tech Crew to Christ the King school. Her crew, like many others, learns how to trouble shoot and repair problems, learns about computer networking, installs updates and software and does many other routine tasks.

Just this year the students learned how to Skype (use software to help participate in online video calls) with a Tech Crew at neighboring school, Our Lady of Calvary. To celebrate, near the end of the year, there was a big “Tech Party” between the two crews.

What a way to end the year – giving the kids a chance to socialize with other Tech Crew colleagues.

Tech Crew programs at these two schools, along with many others around the nation, are giving kids an edge for the future. The kids are learning technology skills which will serve them a lifetime.

“This,” said Mrs. Fisher, “provides another outlet for students to learn different and important skills necessary for the 21st century.”

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2012 Jennifer Gladen