A Real Workplace Experience

Computer Hardware and Information Technology students repair Liberty’s Chromebooks

March 4, 2020


Kay Copeland

Junior Pierce Polydys assesses a malfunctioning Chromebook while working in the lab.

Chromebooks. We all use them for school every day. It’s also probable that we’ve all had our fair share of technical difficulties when it comes to school-distributed computers. But what if you knew how to repair your technical issue? In Liberty’s Computer Hardware and Information Technology course, students learn and apply the skills of a computer technician in a hands-on environment.

In this class, which is open to juniors and seniors, students assess computer hardware and software problems while defining the best approach to addressing or solving the problem, according to the Wentzville School District high school course planning guide.

This course is nothing like your average high school elective. In Computer Hardware and Information Technology, students obtain the best learning experience possible by working on other student’s malfunctioning Chromebooks. The class meets during first, third, sixth and eighth hours in room 413 and the corresponding lab room. Mr. Michael Jarrett has taught this class for four years.

Kay Copeland
The computer lab contains Chromebook parts and non-working computers yet to be fixed.

“There are several things that this class incorporates,” Jarrett said. “First is fixing Chromebooks, second is customer service and third is an online class from a company called TestOut. Students use it when they’re not in the lab helping fix computers.”

TestOut is a program that specializes in online training courseware for IT certifications and Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications. Additionally to fixing computers, students are on track to receive their Industry Recognized Certifications (IRC) certificate from TestOut.

“You take those certificates to places that use that type of computer knowledge and you can make a lot of money,” Jarrett said. “Some of these kids may come out of high school, go to work and make some money. Other kids may go to college where they’ll add to those certificates and get a degree.”

Senior Tyler Hudson is currently in his second year of this class. He participates in the “ethical hacking” route that this course offers.

“The biggest thing that differentiates this class from others is the practical side that this class offers. This is real job experience that I’m getting,” Hudson said. “Most classes at our school focus on the academic side of things or theories, but what I’m learning in this class is exactly what I’d be doing in a career field like this.”

On the “ethical hacking” route, Hudson has learned important information that most people are unaware of.

“The main thing I’ve learned is how not protected everyone’s computer is,” Hudson said. “During this class, I’ve realized how easy it is for someone to take people’s information from unsecured places, such as unsecured WiFi networks.”

Mr. Jarrett describes this class as “unique.” Between fixing computers, customer service skills and online certification, Computer Hardware and Information Technology prepares students for a real workplace experience.

“It’s a real-life class. It prepares you for a certain type of job,” Jarrett said. “If these students get a career in networking, they will use what they’re learning here every day.”

Before the class is put on your schedule, you must have completed any technology, Lewis and Clark or Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Computer Science/Engineering course. There is also a mandatory application process for acceptance to this class.

“I think if you’re interested in computers or computer science, then this class is definitely for you,” Hudson said. “Even if you’re not interested in ethical hacking like I am, there are other routes that you can take.”

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