MINNETRISTA, Minn. (WCCO) — A Twin Cities high school is giving students a hands-on learning experience for the digital age.
Mound Westonka High School is one of the few in the state offering a technology repair class. It’s called Westonka Tech Interns and teaches students how to repair their district issued laptops.
Like many schools, Mound Westonka started incorporating technology into the classroom in recent years.
“Our school, now — everyone has a Chromebook,” student Dylan Horan said.
This year, roughly 1,500 students within the district have Chromebooks. At times, the tools to help teach will fail which creates new coursework for students like Horan.
“I joined this class and all of the sudden, I realized how much I enjoy working with computers and doing that stuff,” Horan said.
He’s one of a dozen students enrolled in Westonka Tech Interns. It’s one of the few electronics repair classes offered in Minnesota at the high school level. Instead of lectures and exams, students troubleshoot glitches in their district issued computers.
“They get a Chromebook which has a problem they have to solve, and they don’t stop until they solve the problem,” MWHS tech teacher Sue Simonson said.
The elective class gives juniors and seniors a hands-on learning experience while turning out a faster, cheaper fix than a manufacturer’s repair shop.
“The turnaround time was about six weeks, and then the part they replaced, we now repair for a fourth of the cost,” Simonson said.
Yet the biggest value can’t be measured in money or time — for Horan, this class gave him direction for life after graduation.
“Having this class, I found what I loved to do,” he said.
Many of the students are taking their skills of fixing Chromebooks further by fixing their own iPhones and iPads. The kids also have the chance to get a technology certification, allowing them to enter the workforce right out of high school.