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Web site project is recognized

October 20, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Fixing computers is what makes Washington County Technical High School seniors Todd Garnand and Matt Andrews tick.

But it isn't their knack for fixing hardware that got them national attention in the world of computers.

A class project, through which the techs designed a Web site for one of the school's teachers, won Garnand, 17, and Andrews, 16, a coveted spot on a technology education company's model compact disc.

The seniors' project was one of 11 selected out of more than 1,200 submitted to appear on a compact disc distributed to more than 7,000 people in the technology and education business across the country.

The two friends paired up last year in the school's computer repair and networking class to work on a project to submit to Generation Yes, a national program that provides teachers with support in technology education.

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Having only dabbled in basic Web site design in the past, Garnand and Andrews had to learn to understand complicated Dreamweaver software while handling the pressure of figuring out how to design their site.

As part of Generation Yes project requirements, the teens had to pick a teacher for whom they would develop a technology program to aid in instruction. They picked Technical High School psychology and history teacher Jeffrey Rowe, who lacked Internet communication with his students.

Rowe suggested that the students create a Web site for his classes. The end result enables Rowe to post assignments and announcements, copies of past quizzes and links to other sites, such as the psychology textbook's Web site.

The site has been up this school year and Rowe has not been able to gauge yet how much his students use it, he said.

Although the students said they did most of the grunt work in class, they did a lot of thinking outside of school, which is where the idea came to make the entrance to Rowe's Web site an image of the teacher standing behind his classroom door.

When Garnand and Andrews approached teacher Amanda Corcoran about the idea, she helped them make it a reality.

The students not only had to design the Web site, but had to explain in detail to Generation Yes judges how they helped Rowe integrate technology into his classroom. Their detailed explanations are the key to the students' success, Corcoran said.

Corcoran said all her students last year submitted projects to Generation Yes, ranging from PowerPoint to Web sites. Garnand and Andrews were the only students to submit a Web site.

Since last year, Corcoran has added a little bit of Web site design to her curriculum.

Garnand is working now to develop a Web site for the computer and repair class, which runs itself like a small business, Corcoran said.

"I feel more confident now that I've presented myself with a challenge and basically conquered it," Garnand said.

Garnand, whose home school is Smithsburg High School, and Andrews, whose home school is North Hagerstown High School, plan to go into computer repair after high school, saying they prefer "hands-on" work to that of software programming.

Corcoran said the Generation Yes honor will help brush up the two students' rsums.

"They have a greater ability now to grasp difficult concepts," she said.

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