|Volume 32, Issue 14
||April 14, 2006
4th Annual Wired Differently
Logos photo by John Schnackenberg|
Jared Johanns participates in a game of CD golf while attending the 4th Annual Wired Differently Information Technology Day held on campus on Thursday, March 23. The day provided those attending an opportunity to become familiar with the program, campus and various changes in technology.
Technology Fair highlights day's activities
and Andrew Smith
The 4th Annual Wired Differently Information Technology Day was held at NIACC on Thursday, March 23. The event celebrated people, careers, businesses and ideas that are all "wired differently."
The day featured a technology fair, that businesses to highlight the use of technology in their everyday jobs, including the Globe Gazette's Weather Cam, which can view all of the downtown area in Mason City.
Mary Mosiman, NIACC Information Technology program leader and instructor, said that there were about 130-150 students from the area participating.
Both high school and NIACC students participated. "I hope they had a fun day, hope they gained comfort at NIACC," Mosiman said.
She added that while the goal of the day was to expose students to broader concepts of technology, like fashion or agriculture, it's also a good recruiting tool for NIACC because students get to visit the campus and see everything that the college has to offer.
Richard Gibson, a senior at Mason City High School and a sophomore at NIACC, attended the Wired Differently Day.
"The day was a fun and interesting way to find out about what different companies are doing with technology," Gibson said.
The day also had several contests and mini-sessions including a Technology Knowledge Bowl, a session on cyber security, CD golf and the most popular session, video game testing.
The keynote speaker was Jeff Gorball, senior vice president of operations at Kingland Systems. Gorball is a member of the NIACC Academics Advisory Board.
The mini-sessions appeared to leave an impression on students. "It was flexible, so we went on to talk about things like computer security," Gibson said.
The event also showcased NIACC and what it has to offer future students.
Beginning with the fall 2006 semester, three new career programs including Graphic Communications, Cyber Security and Quality Control Testing will be offered at NIACC.
"Based on the Wired Differently Day, I would recommend students attend NIACC because it is closer to home and offers a good bang for your buck," Gibson said.
Studies question whether students ready for college
Benjamin J. Buck
Mason City High School graduate and NIACC freshman Sara Berner said she adjusted well to college, but was surprised with the expectations and complexity of it.
"I feel that I was prepared for college," Berner said. "But I know some of my classmates were not so lucky."
As seniors around the North Iowa area prepare for the upcoming transition from post-prom parties and Friday night football games to cramming for college midterms and finals some may not be ready for the change.
John Groninga, a communications instructor and department chair at NIACC, said that it's hard to predict if seniors in high school are ready for that jump.
"I only see a small segment," Groninga said, referring to the population of students in his communications classes compared to the whole student population. "It is really hard to predict."
One thing that frustrates Groninga is spending class time teaching punctuation skills that "should have been learned in 7th grade."
"I then ask the question, ‘Why am I having to teach this basic writing to students who are way past the 7th grade?' " Groninga said.
The answer to that question may lie in the hands of high schools, as there is much evidence that describes the gaps in education between the high school and college experience.
Achieve, Inc., Rising to the Challenge: Are High School Graduates Prepared for College and Work reported that two in five recent high school graduates say there are gaps in their education and overall skills, abilities, and work habits that are expected of them in college and in the work force.
Brad McIntire, a 2004 graduate of Clear Lake High School and current NIACC sophomore, said that his high school did a decent job of preparation for college, but that NIACC really polished his skills.
"At my high school, senior year was a fun year after all the work that we put in," McIntire said. "I took the required stuff like government and economics, but it was NIACC that has prepared me for that next level."
McIntire was not the only one to have a senior year of fun as the Institute for Educational Leadership and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education published an article in May of 2001 called, Overcoming the High School Senior Slump: New Education Policies. The article stated the economic and social consequences of the "senior slump."
They listed many contributions to the problem, such as a lack of coherence between the curriculum of the senior year and general education courses in college.
A college admissions calendar that provides few incentives for high school seniors to take rigorous academic courses was also listed as a contributor.
The article also included recommendations such as improving college admissions and placement priorities, strengthening the high school curriculum by linking it to the general education requirements of the first year of college and assigning responsibilities for K-16 issues to a single entity in each state.
Berner agreed with the senior slump consequences article.
Looking back on her high school classes, Berner said she thinks she would have benefited from taking more challenging courses like trigonometry.
"College is a completely different world," Berner said. "Teachers expect a lot more out of you and if you didn't have that discipline in more challenging classes in high school, then the transition will be that much harder."
All of the stats aside, Berner and McIntire agreed that self-preparation in high school will go a long way in preparing an individual for college.
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