Lawrence junior high schools will use the funds to help students learn computer skills and teach others applications of technology.
Generation X has given way to its younger counterparts, Generation Why.
And the young guns are asking questions. Questions about motherboards, G3s, Apple Tier technology integration and other terms of computer speak.
Students in the Lawrence school district's junior highs are about to get a power boost in their knowledge of computer language, thanks to a Generation Why grant that was recently approved by the Kansas Department of Education. The grant will fund technology training and opportunities for students to mentor teachers on technology.
"It's a bottom up, not a top down model," said Linda Hyler, technology facilitator for Lawrence Public Schools. "How many 12-year-olds are so much better than 40-year-old teachers when it comes to computers?"
More than a few. The Generation Why grant will allow students with strong computer interests to learn more about computer programming and implementation so they can work with teachers to introduce new programs in everyday classroom use.
The grant will provide $15,000 to South, Central and Southwest junior highs for the training and equipment. West Junior High did not receive funding because the school already has an extensive computer lab, but students and teachers at the school will get the same training as at the other junior highs.
"We're aiming at seventh-graders," Hyler said. "They'll be in the buildings two more years to continue the work, and it's something they can do to really get involved with school activities. They can't go out for sports so this is another outlet for them."
Each junior high can enroll about 20 students in the GenWhy program. A faculty member will work with them outside of school hours to learn the new computer programs.
Students will be chosen based on their interest in computers and teacher recommendations, Hyler said.
"A lot of these kids may not excel in other areas, but they do really well with computers," she said. "Some just have the desire to learn and some have extensive computer experience."
Among the programs students may learn are Power Point and Hyper Studio, but they'll get much more, Hyler said.
"They'll develop a leadership role in technology," she said. "It will give them skills that will help them down the road."
The grant is good for one year, but Hyler said she expects the results to last.
"We'll replicate it with other grants and the training will go from one class down to another," she said. "You know, if you teach it, you learn it. Teachers and students will work together on this."
-- JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.