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Fred Slater

Teacher Bio
Fred Slater teaches Fundamentals of Networking at Madison Park Technical Vocational High School, a School to Career school. Graduating with distinction from University of California at Berkeley with a B.A. in English Teaching, he received his Master's in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Holding several technology certifications, Fred has served as Assistant Coordinator of Education for Boston's Homeless Service and as A+ Program Developer and Instructor for the Boston Evening Academy. Through TechBoston he has received the City Excellence Award for Innovation in Education sponsored by John Hancock and the Boston Management Consortium.

Subject Areas

Grade Levels
9 - 12

Grade 10 Bilingual, Special, & Regular Education students


TechAssist 1 ~ Networking for Student Service


Key Question How can Technology students give back to their high school?

Overview When the printer balks, the scanner faults, what to do? TechAssist to the rescue! Combining technology with service, students come up with solutions for classroom technology problems. Students format computers, install operating systems, configure protocols, download software, diagnose and troubleshoot most common computer problems. Transforming a new Networking computer lab, students learn to: set up furniture, install and reconfigure computers, install network cable for devices, wire hubs, configure protocol stacks, map network drives, install software, scanners, and printers, and secure all devices with cables and locks. All in all, a win-win scenario for tech students and classrooms.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Design & distribute poster about TechAssist.
Distribute Request Forms.
Arrange for pick-ups.
Examine & isolate problems.
List problems, prioritize, & map probable solutions.
Undertake solutions.
Refer unsolvable problems to BPS Tech Center.
Publicize program with brochures & posters.
Complete Work Reports.
Return equipment, explain & demonstrate process.
Restore unusable computers/peripherals to school service.
Solve classroom technology problems.
Explain problems & solutions to school staff clients.
Recruit girls into school technology programs.
Speak at national & state technology conferences.
Present computer slide show (or download, 3.93 MB) at Middle School Career Visions Fair.
Design, produce, distribute business cards.
Research careers online.
Discuss customer relations & analyze client interaction.
Use system diagnostic utilities.
Practice explanations of problems & process.
Observe after-school programs with the goal of becoming Computer Lab Teacher Assistants.
Cite Tech Assist experience in Xintra Scholarship application.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards Technology
Understand PC architecture
Understand computer hardware
Understand system software & non-application software
Isolate & troubleshoot methods
Understand network protocols

School to Career Competencies

Practice Communication and Literacy Skills
Collect and organize information
Problem Solve
Use technology
Complete Entire Activities
Act professionally
Understand All Aspects of the Industry


In accordance with their Electronic Portfolio Project, students are rated on content, development, conventions, and School to Career competencies. Through actual provision of network and computer school support, students' success rate is correlated to resulting products and service.

Software or Materials Used Student text is 3COM NetPrep: Introduction to Networking plus a variety of trade and computer industry publications for reference. Additional software & strategies include: LCD Projected demonstrations, transparencies, educational CD ROMs, Diagnostic Utilities, Software installation disks; PowerPoint & digital whiteboard presentations; direct demonstration of real problems with existing school hardware; Microsoft Office to produce portfolios, logo, business cards, service forms, & feedback forms.

Teacher Developed Materials TechAssist Work Report, Web Site List.

Student Developed Materials Tech Assist Poster, Tech Assist Request Form, Brochures, Computer Slide Show, business cards.

Web Sites A list of related web sites provides essential information on systems and hardware.

Final Words This project has dual purposes: 1. Provide real technical assistance through real-world referrals 2. Demystify the technical support field for high school sophomores. With these goals achieved, we proudly point to concrete results: Many TechAssist students have been hired as TechBoston after-school Lab Assistants; several spend the summer upgrading computers for J.P. Morgan; others pursue certification with awarded Xintra scholarships. Several TechAssist participants joined TechBoston Corps to help pilot similar programs in other Boston schools. They also won a contract to provide technical support for 34 Community Learning Centers, and it all began with a Service Learning project.

Teacher Tip Introduce each set of skills systematically. I closely monitor students while stressing the consequences of mistakes made in a world where users depend on failsafe technology.

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