Students give teachers lessons on computers

September 14, 1995|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

All around the county, teachers are lobbying for more computers, yet at George Fox Middle School, there's a full-scale lab some still hesitate to use.

For eight teachers yesterday, that hesitation turned to enthusiasm as eighth-graders taught them how to navigate the world of cyberspace.

"Some teachers are just phobic about computers; others just aren't familiar with the programs we use," said Bonnie Schupp, the enrichment teacher at the school.

Ms. Schupp, who once was the computer liaison for her school, came up with the idea of having teachers and students switch roles after teachers asked for lessons.

"I thought about one-on-one sessions, but then I thought, 'Well, the students could help. They know how to do it.' " she said. "And although this isn't strictly an enrichment activity, it does benefit the whole school."

The students loved the chance to demonstrate their knowledge.

"I'm used to them teaching me," Nicole Carey, 12, said of her teachers. "But it made me feel good that I might have something to teach them."

Kim Walker, 13, agreed with Nicole that it "felt funny" to be the teacher. "I mean, teachers are supposed to know everything, right?" she asked. "I think their teacher manuals should have a section on using computers. I don't think they use computers enough, I guess because they're so used to the old-fashioned way of typing everything or writing it by hand, instead of using it as part of a lesson."

Carol Maid, who teaches seventh-grade English, said she admires the quality of work students can put on the computers but finds teaching in a lab overwhelming.

"Here, we're one-on-one. I have a computer at home, and I'm very comfortable working with it," she said. "But sometimes when you have 35 students, there are all those hands, all those questions."

Yesterday's workshop, however, left her enthusiastic about the lab and the idea of having other students help out in class. "This has made me more comfortable," she said. "And I think it would be great to have student computer assistants."

Other teachers, such as Jane Moberg, like to use computers but found themselves confounded by the lab's software.

"I came because I wanted to produce a very professional-looking school newsletter for us," said Ms. Moberg, a sixth-grade science teacher. She had only praise for her assistant, 12-year-old Anna Stamos.

"Anna was very patient. I'd say 'Would you please do that again?' and she would," Ms. Moberg said. "You know they're really thinking, 'I can't believe you really don't know this,' but they don't say it."

As other teachers wrapped up their lessons, Ms. Moberg sat finishing her newsletter. She plans to distribute it to classes this morning. "And when I pass it out, I'll tell them that at some point within the next month, they'll be using this lab to help with the newsletter," she said.

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