Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Students want to Learn

Once again I will point you to my friend Luis Suarez. If only I could beat him once to the blog post.
Luis posted this great post and video about the state of education and which one are you or I?

Our ensuing conversation highlighted how both of us saw our education similarly thought we are across the Atlantic Ocean from each other.

Today, as posted earlier today, I took part in a forum to help junior and senior students in high school get some interviewing experience, advice and knowledge sharing.

The slides are on the previous post. I encouraged them top share with each other the knowledge they received not just from us but from each other.

Wish we could have spent more time together talking afterwards but the students needed to get back to their studies. The four of us who did the forum discussed the morning on our way out.

These students, about 25 of them, were very interested in listening to us. While we all take some basics, like dressing the part, as a given, to students it is odd. After all, if you would not wear a suit to work, why would you wear one to an interview?

Indeed, a hard one to explain without laughing at the state of our business world. But we explained that one, as well as many other items they asked about.

They were surprised by how much I and the others stressed customer service. If we did not have any customers, we would not have any business. The best way to have customers is to have great customer service. As I write this I owe someone a patch fix which was not working last I sat with it.

The students are taking a mix of science and technology courses and do their own school networks(cabling, drops, etc..) and Cisco router configurations. Just like most of us did back in high school. Web design was also a big highlight, Dreamweaver came up a bit and the graphic designers were so interested in designing new and cool things.

The need to resolve conflict and manage groups of different people was discussed and I am happy to say that most of them have some leadership backgrounds. If they can put that to good use in their future they will get very far. As I told them in my opening, the business world is still like high school, so if you can manage it here, you can manage it at work. They were very happy to hear this. Shocked, but happy.

So maybe Luis and I are not giving our current skills enough slack for teaching analysis or observing and learning from their experiences. This is active learning at its best! These students do get it and want it, now to help them find some internships and jobs for the summer.

This was harder than I expected due to the students not having the means for equipment, software or even internet access at home or easily accessible to them even if we wanted to give them a chance. Some can or will drive this summer which makes it easier, if they have a car to use, but for the majority they could do well with some small projects, if they had the opportunity.

A troubling conundrum that outlines the balance of home efforts with school efforts to provide a full environment to the students. Imagine if you were taking IT courses but could only do your homework at school.


  1. Hi Keith! What a great blog post! I am surely glad you are picking up on this theme as well on the current state of our education and learning systems; I, too, value quite a bit engaging with younger students through various different presentations and workshops, as well as coaching them and giving them some advice on their PhD thesis and the like, as a very revealing method to mutually learn about both worlds: theirs and ours and see how we can help facilitate their conversion into the best of both. Not always an easy challenge, for sure, but worth while the discussion, for sure! :)

    Which reminds me I need to write a blog post on a recent event I did where the students were not connected to the Web, so we decided to use a whiteboard and jot down a bunch of notes of what they expect the future of the workplace to look like and what it is today. My goodness, what an eye opener!

    Thanks again for following up on this one! Much appreciated!

  2. I recently gave a similar presentation at my daughter's school for Career Day. Regarding careers in computer science, I warned them: it's a lifelong learning experience, so if you don't like being in school, I.T. is not for you. Much more I mentioned there that I should blog about. Thanks for the topic idea!

  3. David, blog it! I don't think the community always gets the younger generation because we are focused on the enterprises.

    Luis, like to hear that student session. No Web is a reality for more people than anyone can imagine.