Computer Explorers Customer Review: An Interview With Barbara Vinch, Recreational Center, East Windsor, NJ Rec center representative says Computer Explorers makes a big impact on children’s educations As Assistant to the Director of the East Windsor Recreational Center for the city of East Windsor, NJ, Barbara Vinch understands the powerful role Computer Explorers programs play in a child’s life. She spoke with us about the many ways she sees children benefitting from having Computer Explorers in her center. How did you come to incorporate Computer Explorers into your center? Our center has been using Computer Explorers programs for the last 5 to 6 years. Our former director made the initial pitch to get Computer Explorers’ curriculum into our center. How do Computer Explorers programs foster learning? At the end of each program, we do a review with parents and get great reviews for Computer Explorers programs. Parents praise the positive reinforcement our programs provide. They also like how their children are able to take the knowledge they learn at our center and bring it home to continue using it on their own computer. Every eight weeks, the Computer Explorers instructor changes program formats, which enables children to continue building on their knowledge. What do you like about offering these programs? Students can build on their skills — it’s a learning experience for them. Some children have never had previous exposure to a computer. We have children between kindergarten and fifth-grade who are now using laptops. Can you describe a typical class? Currently, we are offering an eight-week computer-based technology class. On one project, students get to build a comic strip using the computer. They develop original ideas for stories using their own
imaginations. They use their own verbal knowledge to develop the script. This is a lot different than a basic arts and crafts class. How does Computer Explorers affect the way children use technology? It all depends on what knowledge level a student is at. Computer Explorers instructors have to work with all ages and skill levels in one classroom. Children may not even know how to use a keyboard before entering a Computer Explorers program. They may not even have a computer in their home, meaning we may be literally taking them from nothing. The great thing about the Computer Explorers programs is that each class has only around 10 to 12 students, which offers a lot of one-on-one interaction between student and teacher. How important are the classes for children? Computer Explorers courses are very important. If parents don’t have the time to teach, these programs give our kids a start so they won’t get behind. Do you have any examples of it making a big difference in a child’s life? I don’t have a specific direct example because I only get feedback from our parent reviews. However, last year we almost had to cancel a Computer Explorers course because there weren’t enough students enrolled. One of the fathers, who understood the value of the program, asked how many students were needed to fill the class and he offered to pay for their enrollment so his child could attend. I think that shows how much these programs matter to parents who understand what Computer Explorers has to offer children. East Windsor Recreational Center is served by Computer Explorers of Mercer & Hunterdon Counties. Owner Jenifer Morack can be contacted at 609-751-6870 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Founded in 1983, Computer Explorers is the original child technology education franchise. The company broadened its scope to provide innovative STEM-based programs for schoolagers in after school and summer camps, and to teach Microsoft ® applications to students in elementary schools. The company is expanding its offerings in 2012 to include professional development for educators and technology teachers in schools. For more information about Computer Explorers programs, visit www.computerexplorers.com.