Article as written by Stephanie A. James and appeared in the Times-Virginian on October 10, 2012. To view the original article click here.
Kicking off career week, Appomattox County High School students got a glimpse into what it takes to work in the information technology field.
On Friday, students were able to experience the newest technology options for the school system as part of a demonstration by ABS Technology Architects.
Director of Technology and Career and Technical Education Brette Arbogast said that the demonstration was a way to kick off career week, which started Monday.
Arbogast added that by having the presentation it encourages students to explore different career opportunities.
“The plan is to find a career that fits the child,” said Arbogast.
Shawn Angelo, network engineer for ABS Technology Architects, said that they introduce students to new devices and tell students about the information technology career field.
About 200 students – a dozen at a time in 15-minute sessions – entered into the bus equipped with such as monitors, video, computers, and Cisco Unified Communication 500 Series, which is an all in one system for wireless and voice communications.
“They really like computer stuff,” Angelo said of the students’ reaction to the display with the bus.
Students did not have to use their imagination when it came to using technology that allows users to communication via a combination of phone communication and video.
Some students say that after the presentation they are now open to the idea of going into the IT field.
Ninth grader Kolby Grimsley enjoyed the technology presentation.
“It was awesome,” said Grimsley.
When asked about going to the field of IT, Grimsley said, “I never thought about it but that was really cool.”
Ninth grader Shania Robinson, an aspiring surgeon, had similar thoughts.
“It was interesting and different,” said Robinson.
She particularly liked the electronic method of using a regular landline phone to call someone and being able to see them on a computer screen.
Robinson added that she would use that method to contact her friend, Kolby.
“Home phones are boring. Instead of using a cell phone, I would just use that to see her,” said Robinson.
The school division is examining the options that ABS presented and looking at the ones that will boost productivity for students as well as teachers.
Among several hardware options presented by ABS, Arbogast said that tech officials are exploring implementing Jabber for teachers to collaborate.
Arbogast said that the division’s tech team is interested in Jabber, which is a collaboration tool accessed through an app for iPad and iPhone.
Two years ago, ABS purchased the vehicle that they now use to travel to different localities to teach about IT careers and computer software.
Formerly a Cisco van, the company redesigned the interior of the van, which is now referred to as an advanced mobile vehicle. The van has wireless accessibility and the computer devices within it are operated by a generator.
So far this year, the van has traveled to school districts in Roanoke and Chesapeake. The company not only educates schools about technology but also people at business conferences.