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Junior-High Tech

Heren, Tech Team learn by doing at Saratoga School

Saratoga School Tech Team member Zac Heren video chats with a friend, Kyle Jacobson, at his home. Heren says he prefers video chats to texting, and that he is not really “into” video games.
Saratoga School Tech Team member Zac Heren video chats with a friend, Kyle Jacobson, at his home. Heren says he prefers video chats to texting, and that he is not really “into” video games.

The students on Saratoga School’s Tech Team are, as one might surmise, pretty smart cookies. They love technology and learn even more about it through the team.

But perhaps even more importantly, they use their skills and new-found knowledge to be of service to others.

Through their extracurricular activities, members on the team make Saratoga a better place for both students and teachers. Seventh grader Zac Heren is a good example of that ethic, according to Suzette Moskwa, the club’s sponsor.

“Zac helps a lot at the school,” Moskwa said, “and he participated in the Tech Team over the summer, too. He is so interested in networking. This group wants to learn as much as possible about technology. They have good thinking skills and logic, and the team gives them a challenge to go as far as they want. Zac is a really good example of that.”

Zac joined the Tech Team in the middle of last year, after being talked by one of his friends into applying by one of his friends.

“My friend gave me an application,” he said, “and I thought it was pretty interesting.”

He said he wasn’t really into technology before that, but now he loves it.

The Tech Team is divided into two groups of students. One meets Thursdays after school and does the school’s newspaper, The Hawk. Its sponsor is literature teacher Lindsey Steinhouse. The other group meets Friday afternoons and is more focused on the technical.

When Zac first began with the team, he helped make DVD’s of the school’s play. Someone filmed it, then another edited it, and Zac burned several copies onto DVD’s, which were given to cast members and others who ordered copies.

“I made about 25 or 30 copies,” Zac said. “Each one took about five or ten minutes.”

It went quickly, though, he said, because he used several of the technology room’s computers simultaneously.

He also wrote for the school newspaper last year, but then he switched to the technology group, a fit, he said, was better for him.

“We install software on the computers and use GoogleDocs to share documents with each other in the computer lab,” he explained.

Some of what they do is difficult, depending on how large a file is, but Zac said he enjoys doing it and learning new things. He couldn’t pick one particular thing he likes most about Tech Team or even about technology.

“I like all of it,” he said.

At home, he uses his laptop to video chat with his friends. He’s not into texting or video games, he said.

Moskwa said Zac and the other members of the Tech Team have been a boon to the school. They have built cables, installed software, learned some logic with visual programming languages, and they even clean the mice and keyboards in the labs and classrooms, keeping the equipment in shape.

This year, Moskwa said the students have asked to learn more about networking, so she plans on incorporating those lessons into the meetings.

Kindergarten teachers have also requested the team’s help with their computer lab times, as it can be a lot for teachers to handle by themselves.

Moskwa has been sponsor of the Tech Team for the past six years and said having the team has reached a lot of students.

“There are a lot of students who have an interest in technology,” she said, “and who find they excel in it. I knew there were kids who would love technology. It’s amazing what they get done for the school. . . They can help others and be a service and set an example.

“They get a chance to expand themselves, too. Some have learned more than I know on a subject.”

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