Monday, February 13, 2012

Select High Schools Offer Course to Learn Mobile App Development

Students, how would you like the opportunity to learn how to build mobile apps while in high school? High schoolers at 5 schools nationwide are participating in a program launched by computer maker Lenovo and the National Academy Foundation (NAF), a New York-based nonprofit that develops education programs for public schools.

According to eSchoolNews, students at high schools in North Carolina, New York, California, Texas, and Connecticut will have the chance to take a 12-week course in school to learn how to develop and market apps for mobile phones and tablets. Why? In the past year alone, people have downloaded 17 billion apps—an enormous number that is still expected to grow substantially in coming years. The program will teach students the technology skills—coding and programming—as well as train them at creating a business plan for marketing and selling their app.

Lenovo donated Android ThinkPad tablets and ThinkCentre HD All-in-One desktop computers for the program; the company worked with NAF and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to develop the curriculum.

Bev Perdue, governor of North Carolina, said the program helps overcome one of the state’s challenges: helping students have real-time experiences, which is what the mobile app program is designed to do. She said, “If we don’t give our students time to learn, think, create, and play, we will be doing them a disservice. We owe it to the next generation to give them the skill set they need to have the careers that they want.”

If the program is successful, NAF hopes to implement it in many more schools nationwide. So far, students at Apex High School in North Carolina are already excited to participate in a program they believe will “shape the future of their academic career.”

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Campus Help Desk Positions Give Students Valuable Experience

IT students using LabSim, do you work in a part- or full-time help desk position while going to school? Perhaps your help desk role is even on campus, giving technical support to faculty and other students.

On some college campuses, technical support roles are being outsourced, but many campuses still keep the support positions in-house, giving students the opportunity to work part-time on campus and gain valuable IT experience while in school. According to Campus Technology’s Leila Meyer, the Division of IT at George Washington University (GWU) in Washington, DC, has created an all-new operations center that offers around-the-clock IT support to faculty, staff, and students. It was student demand for IT support that led to the center’s creation.

Meyer quoted the GWU’s CIO David Steinour about the choice not to outsource the university’s help desk positions. “I think it adds value to the customer service of our organization to know that people are being serviced by people who work for the university and are internal,” Steinour said.

According to Meyer, GWU’s IT operations center handles most of its support requests over the phone, but they have plans to add chat and e-mail-based help, a Web interface for creating trouble tickets, and a self-service system for things like password resets.

Do these support methods sound familiar? If you work in a help desk position already, you may be using these same methods to provide support. How has TestOut’s LabSim course for A+ helped you in your technical support position? The focus of the content in the LabSim course for A+ is PC maintenance, including desktop administration, PC repair, and technical support. As you train with LabSim for A+, you gain practical experience supporting PC hardware and Windows operating system installation, configuration, and troubleshooting.

If your campus has kept help desk positions in-house, giving you the chance to gain real experience while still a student, we’d love to hear how LabSim has helped you be a better support representative and be confident helping others with PC repair.