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Philosophy and Innovations 
  Computer Shop and On-Line/In-House  Learning Center
 Prepared By: Roy Bortolotto, Regina, Saskatchewan, February 2000

     Importance of Change

In the traditional classroom based, instructor-led educational system, there is very little that prepares an individual for today's extremely rapid and accelerating pace of change.  

There is, in fact, no formal education in change. 

At Duncans, we undertake to partner with our clients/associates to meet their changing computer needs and to share concepts of change with them. 

We begin this process when we assess our clients' computer needs, then, in how we meet these needs with an upgradeable computer system, and finally in how we subsequently upgrade their system. We will take "in-on-trade" any component that we have sold when our clients need to change, making the upgrade process more affordable.

Throughout the process we provide and encourage use of the educational tools necessary for a continual learning process, either in-house or over the Internet. 

However it is in our work with young people that we devote our greatest efforts in defining and implementing concepts of change.

Computer Building

There are only two kinds of computers in the world:  those that you can upgrade and those that you can't.  

We believe that we are in the fastest-changing industry there is, and as such we believe that the most important criteria for choosing a computer is determining its upgradeability. 

Once the client has decided to purchase an upgradeable computer, his/her most immediate decision is "Am I purchasing this computer from someone who will upgrade it?"

1)  We build upgradeable computers.

2)  We assist our clients' upgrade process by taking "in-on-trade" those items that they originally purchased from us and now wish to change.  

Learning Facilitators

Facilitation is a method of helping another acquire knowledge. 

A facilitator is someone who is skilled in the art and science of assisting another's learning experience. Imparting the skills for computer expertise requires a very special set of circumstances. 

By the very nature of rapid change, valid computer expertise cannot possibly be acquired in the traditional educational system.  Our present-day schools, colleges, and universities do not have the trained staff or equipment to prepare our young people to enter the highly sophisticated world of Information Technology.

Traditional education is characterized by linear learning where information is delivered in a step-by-step fashion. 

With computer-based education, the learner often hyperlinks or jumps to any number of other areas of the course. 

Traditional education is characterized by teacher-lead, classroom-based instruction.  The student is told when to start to learn, when to stop, and when to take a break.  The teacher is in charge of the entire process.  Often students are forced to study subject matter not of their choice or at a rate incompatible with their ability.  Students are usually tested at the end of a course against other classmates.  

With computer-based training, the learner is in charge of the learning process.  He/she decides the starting and ending point, pace of learning, subject matter and assessment procedures.  Skill assessment evaluation is an essential built-in part of the courses. Taken before and during the learning program "skill assessments" give the learner instant feed-back on his/her progress, and therefore a strong sense of accomplishment and progress. The learner is tested against his or herself.

The process of developing curriculum for self-paced, interactive, computer-based and now web-based courses has been progressing for 30 years.  Currently, there are thousands of "computer-based" courses, many of which lead to computing accreditation and certification.  Each year, as the industry changes, thousands more are being added. 

It is Duncans philosophy to select the more important courses, bringing together a large selection and making them available to our clients/Associates either in our Learning Center or over the Internet.

  Collaborative Computing

It is well-known that we are in the information age.  At present the computer is looked upon as an information device.  

However, it is our understanding that the role of the computer is changing dramatically. 

The importance of the computer as an information gatherer and manipulator is now surpassed by its new role of being a communication device. 

The telephone, television, and radio are devices that are converging into the computer.  In the near future there will only be one conduit to the home or business handling all video, audio and data requirements.  

For example this conduit would handle all radio and television broadcasting, all telephone and Internet connections, movies on demand as well as video conferencing and security systems.  It is this universal nature of the Internet that allows us to introduce the possibility, in fact reality, of collaborative computing.

Collaborative computing is when two or more people work together using their own computers over a network in real time to accomplish a task. With high speed or broadband Internet, two or more people can conduct business, sharing electronic documents while utilizing voice and video communication. 

We believe it is necessary to define the special skill set required for an individual to feel comfortable in this highly-complex, multi-tasking environment.  

Our on-line learning will be facilitated in real time by our Associates.  This will introduce the process of collaborative computing.  With products such as Office 2000, on-line work teams and document sharing are already a reality.  

In the very near future, any business that doesn't embrace the concept of collaborative computing will very quickly lose its competitive edge. 

We recognize this capability to be one of the most important set of skills we should be delivering.  

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   Associates

Our Associates are able to sell, service and upgrade computers for their friends, relatives and neighbors.  They earn money in this process.  

They also learn how to effectively work together, as many of the work opportunities require teamwork.  Each Associate has specific computer interests which they share with each other.  

Becoming one of our Associates allows one to tap into the wide and diversified knowledge base of the others. 

We believe that the Associate program prepares our learners for the role they will play in the future when they are accredited, experienced and spending much of their time helping those around them change. 

Over the last 14 years the computer has touched the lives of a billion people.  In less than five years constellations of hundreds of low-earth orbit satellites will provide fiber-like, broadband communication to every point in the world.  Taking into consideration that more than 50% of the world's population has never placed a telephone call, it is easy to visualize how this incredible, rapidly changing technology will affect the lives of the other 4 billion people that live on this planet.  

Once the satellites are fully deployed, a man standing in a field in Ethiopia will have the same potential for good as a man standing in an office building in New York City. 

We recognize that those 4 billion people will need to assimilate the technology of radio, telephone, television, and computers overnight while we ourselves have barely assimilated it over three generations.

It is obvious that what will be needed to help these people in the assimilation process is a huge team of people.  What we envision is the most important facilitation project in the history of man.  For our part we have begun to build a network of Associates who we are fully training to act as a core group of facilitators when "Internet-in-the-sky" becomes a reality.

 Certification

The skill set required to operate the computer systems of the Fortune 1000 corporations as well as medium and small businesses, government agencies and financial institutions has not been addressed by our present-day school system.  

The major corporations of the computer industry recognized this problem some time ago and have instituted a large number of certificate programs to measure the computer skills of an individual.  

These certification programs (ex. A+ Certification, Microsoft Certified System Engineer )  have now captured the attention of employers who are giving preference to people who have completed these programs over graduates of our universities and trade schools.  Up-to-date, practical information in the certificate programs prepare students for the real world of enterprise computing.

These certification courses were designed by and for adults.  We have discovered that young people as young as nine years of age are able to follow and complete these courses with ease. This is a commentary on today's young people whose interest, potential and ability to learn has been underestimated.  We have discovered that  young people from 9-18 years eagerly embrace the opportunity to take these certification programs.  Because these courses are unavailable in the schools, we become a vital and essential supplement to their computer education.  

Vocational School

Even though our focus is to bring certification programs to young people, we believe that learning about computers is a lifelong process.  It is the nature of the computer industry for an on-going certification program to be an essential part of one's career. We intend to meet this need by providing up-to-date access to all the industry certification programs in our Learning Center or over the Internet. 

Traditional vocational schools do not offer the certificate programs as part of their curriculum. We use the certificate programs as the basis of our vocational training. Coupled with our self-paced approach to computer learning, we believe it is possible for us to offer superior education for the Information Technology learner.

 Prepared By: Roy Bortolotto
Regina, Saskatchewan

February 2,000

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       This page first posted February 27, 2,000, last modified November 05, 2007
  
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