Courses in Computer Maintenance and Networking Offer Project Based Experiences


James Ward

Sophomore Connor Cook working on a coding project for the Networking class on Nov. 17.

James Ward, Sports Editor

In a small room that was used for storing books just a year ago, two new classes meet at the beginning of the school day. Open computers, wires spilling out in every direction and computer parts cover the tables. Yet these tiny contraptions and miscellaneous objects make up the classes projects and work. Room 1A is now the home of the Computer Maintenance and Networking classes.

Last year the school hired Dr. Gary Sullivan to teach Computer Maintenance and Networking to students. These classes belong to the S.T.E.M. endorsement and count as elective classes.

“We have an IT guided pathway here,” Gary Sullivan said. “Early in the cycle is computer maintenance class and then following this class is networking. Computer Maintenance teaches you the knowledge that you need to know to maintain computers.”

Both classes are project based and involve students picking what projects sound interesting to them. In Computer Maintenance students go from taking apart desktop towers to replacing the screens on laptops. In Networking students mostly learn about coding.

“We are project-based learning, we have different categories of hardware, software and coding,’ senior Matthew McElroy said. “We get to sign up for those topics and there are many different builds that we can do within those categories.” 

While sophomore Zach Brown has taken the Networking class he has increased his skill of coding exponentially. Brown’s latest project has been cloning a repository to work on an open source on the internet.

“Essentially it just means that this is some free software that is free for anybody to use and I’ve learned how to get access to it and how to edit it myself, so that I can work on it and help develop it some,” sophomore Zach Brown said.

Many students who take the class learn specific skills that help them achieve a career that they would like to go into in the future. Some hope to go into careers of IT or even video game development.

“I want to start an IT career, and the best way to do that was to try and learn more about computers,” sophomore Connor Cook said. “[Before taking this class] I was completely terrible, I didn’t even know what went into a computer. Now I actually know what all the parts are and what the cables are and what I need to do in order to make a computer right.”

Whether the classes are coding or taking the backs off computers, the students said they enjoy learning important computer skills that they can use later in life. These experiences are what makes teaching classes like this so enjoyable for Mr. Sullivan.

“The best part of teaching classes like computer maintenance is the class overall,” Mr. Sullivan said. “I get to watch and or help the students learn how much fun this stuff is. A lot of people don’t realize how fun hard work can be. If you love the work you’re doing, it only looks like hard work.”