The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

Foundations of Technology classes take hands-on approach

Senior Leslie Blalock is the record holder at CHS for suspending 25 textbooks on a 4-inch-tall paper and tape structure. Last year, she would’ve been reading about suspension on the computer. Now, she is taking what she has learned and trying her luck at a school record.

As of this school year, the use of computers in the Foundations of Technology course has been replaced with hands-on projects.

“This course has been updated to ensure all students have adequate opportunities to fully learn to apply concepts in real-world scenarios using a hands-on approach,” said Betsey Brown, director of the MCPS Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Principal Dr. Joan Benz supports the new curriculum because it connects to the science department.

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“The course ties in very nicely with the science curriculum so it’s not out there as an isolated course by itself,” Principal Dr. Joan Benz said. “It’s more project-oriented than it had been and not so much computer-based.”

Foundations of Technology teacher David Hurless also sees advantages in the new course.

“The students will benefit with the way the hands-on projects give them better thinking skills and better analyzing abilities for everyday projects,” Hurless said.

However, according to Hurless, removing the computer programming portion of the class may hinder student learning.

“Computers gave students more options to access the technology available and you could utilize the resources for student improvement,” Hurless said.

While Hurless believes it is too early to gauge how students feel about the new curriculum, freshman Nicole Menkart has positive feedback.

“At first I was really surprised that technology class had no computers, but I actually like it now that we have started working on projects,” Menkart said. “It’s nice to learn the basics of building and tools, like how to build things in real life, before you learn how to do it on the computer.”

Not only have changes occurred in CHS’s Foundations of Technology curriculum, but a new course, Design Technology Solutions, is now offered as an alternative for students to fulfill the technology graduation requirement.

“All we had was Foundations of Technology, so it seemed like every child had to do Foundations of Technology because we didn’t have any choices,” Benz said. “So, the state developed this new curriculum and new course to also meet the technology requirement.”

Senior Jessica Prussick enjoys the Design Technology Solutions class which emphasizes problem solving and collaborative projects.

“I like how the class is very interactive,” Prussick said. “We get to engage in neat projects.”

According to Design Technology Solutions teacher Rebecca Smith, the course involves computer science, programming and robotics.

“Students are excited about using and programming with legos because it is all hands-on,” Smith said. “The course consists of a lot of teamwork and building together.”

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Foundations of Technology classes take hands-on approach