Sunday, June 20, 2010

MOUSE Squad: Kids Fixing Computers!

MOUSE Squad of California (MSCA) is a student tech leadership program that provides youth access to technology-based opportunities that motivate students to succeed in today's information society while providing a service to their schools. MSCA enables upper elementary, middle, and high school students to provide a service to their schools, while they learn Information Technology (IT), customer service, communication, and leadership skills. The program provides MOUSE Squad certification so that students can provide tech support for both Mac and PC! It can be an after-school program or an in-school elective.
MOUSE stands for "Making Opportunities for Upgrading Schools and Education." In the 2006-2007 school year, MOUSE Squad Student Tech was launched in 20 schools in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Oakland and the Central Valley. Doubling in the 2007-2008 school year, 40 schools offered MOUSE Squad Student Tech to their schools. It's now statewide and is being offered in 70+ schools. I'm looking forward to hearing the status of my school's application, as just moments ago, I clicked "submit" to our application.
The core elements of the program include:
  • Online curriculum with computer, software, troubleshooting and problem solving modules
  • Hands-on activities, quizzes, and performance-based assessments
  • Student-run help desk with paper and/or online ticket management systems
  • Volunteers to assist with curriculum, help desk and mentoring
  • Internships for high school youth
There is a $1,500 fee (+ $500 start-up fee) per site (mini-grants are available for qualified California schools). You get online curriculum correlated with state curriculum and national technology standards, hands-on activities, computer tool kit, USB flash drives, recruitment and tech help posters, ID cards, holders, lanyards, and more. MOUSE Squad certification serves as a foundation for A+, Microsoft, and other professional certifications.
Based on the "pay if forward" model, students are trained to troubleshoot common computer problems at their local site. Imagine the time and money that could be saved if students could provide basic computer tech support for their schools. If our application is approved, we will implement the program beginning in the 2010-2011 school year and I'll be sure to post program updates from time to time.

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