Problem solving skills help students keep up with technology

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RUMFORD — When the whatchamacallit on the computer will not work or the thingamajig does not communicate with the other computer, the students of Region 9’s computer technology program are there to fix it.

First-year students learn to identify computer parts, speak using correct computer terminology and build their own computer. They install Windows 8 clients.

Second-year students troubleshoot and repair computers as well as network a group of computers. They also build their own cable.

Kain Harris, a second-year student from Dirigo High School, explained, “The reason I chose this Region 9 program is because I have been using computers since I was a very young boy. I have always had an interest in modern technology.”

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“I’m really interested in computer technology and newer technology that’s coming out,” said Dirigo senior Caleb Holmes.

With technology that changes almost daily, how do students keep up with those changes?

“Problem solving is a key skill in computer technology,” said instructor Ruth Brown. “Since the technology changes, students have to learn a process to solve problems.”

She continued, “We use CISCO curriculum online and lab simulations to practice in virtual environment. The online activities expose students to a wide range of problems to solve. By doing online learning, we don’t need to purchase the latest technology all the time so we save money.”

For the “ungeek” reader, CISCO is a multinational corporation that designs, manufactures and sells networking equipment. In order for people to use the technology, CISCO has created five levels of certification ranging from entry to expert and nine different paths to achieve certification.

The online environment coupled with hands-on work with computers works for the students.

MVHS senior Jacob Poulin said, “My favorite thing about the program is working hands-on with real computers.”

The comment that would warm any teacher’s heart came from Dirigo junior Rob Wilson. “I like learning new things every time I come here.”

Like the other Region 9 programs, certification is a goal in computer technology. Brown explained, “If they finish the CISCO course, they get CISCO certification. Some students choose to spend time outside of school learning more and they can earn A+ certification. That certification is required if they want to be part of the Geek Squad,” which is Best Buy’s squad of technicians.

Asked what he hopes to get out of the program, Mason Milligan said, “Certifications and experience.” Milligan is a junior at MVHS.

Computer technology students recommend their program highly. They see it as an excellent opportunity for “techies” and “gamers.”

Telstar junior Lukas Hinkley said, “If they want a job in computers, then yes! This is the right program.”

The best endorsement comes from Dirigo sophomore Todd Bautista. “Yes, take the class; you will love every second of it.”

If a student is interested in learning more about the program, contact Region 9 for a day-long tour. In addition to high school students, Brown also teaches adult education classes.

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