Libertyville, Vernon Hills pupils take tech higher
Hawthorn Middle School seventh-grader Sam Lemme is a member of the school's Tech Club. The club has about 40 members and usually meets after school. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 1:16AM
LIBERTYVILLE — With technology playing an ever greater role in modern lives, it should come as no surprise that local schools are teaching tech skills in classrooms.
What some may not know is that the learning doesn’t stop there.
At District 70’s Highland Middle School, Applied Technology teacher Melissa Rosen has been running an extracurricular technology club since 2007.
Rosen ran similar clubs at other schools and felt it would work at Highland. While technology classes are part of the mandatory curriculum for sixth- and seventh-graders, Rosen said many kids are interested in going beyond what’s taught in class.
What’s done in the club runs the gamut from creating websites to doing 3D animation to video game design. Every student also produces a project before the year is done — something he or she can show to parents or display on the club’s website.
Asked how enthusiastic the club members are, Rosen was unequivocal. “It’s definitely something they look forward to,” Rosen said. “They’re really disappointed if there’s a week where we don’t have a meeting.”
At Hawthorn Middle School South in Vernon Hills, interest in technology also is alive and well. Ray Tamasauskas, the library resource facilitator, has been running a tech club there for about the last 10 years of his 12-year tenure at the school. The club is popular, with 40 members this year.
Tamasauskas takes a slightly different approach than Rosen and focuses on teaching his kids the history of technology.
“They all know computers and they want to jump right into that,” he said. “But they don’t realize what came before, and I think that’s important.”
The history lesson seems to work, even with kids who mostly are interested in computers only for playing games or using the Internet.
“They’re fascinated by the old stuff,” Tamasauskas said.
The most popular activity the club does is taking apart a computer. Donations of old computers are solicited for this purpose and when it comes time to rip one of the machines apart, the kids are riveted.
“They fight over who’s going to take which parts home,” Tamasauskas said with a chuckle.