User groups asked to aid schools, education
Author: from Quick Connect
Date: November, 1989
Keywords: computer club
Text: (Note: This article appeared in the September/October 1989 issue of Quick Connect, the Newsletter for Apple User Groups.) Is your user group interested in sponsoring an Apple Computer Club? Or is your user group already working with an Apple Computer Club in your area? We'd like to know about your interests and experiences. To find the name of an Apple Computer Club near you, call The Connection's toll-free number, 800/538-9696. Or contact Dee Anne Dougherty, Apple Computer Clubs/Education Specialist in Cupertino (AppleLink address DOUGHERTY2). Have you ever spent time with an 8-year-old, experiencing how computers change the way they learn and explore? Interested in working with 15-year-olds on a project to help the homeless? Ever imagine that, armed with a Macintosh, a group of fifth graders could successfully lobby their state legislature to pass a bill for environmental protection? The Apple Computer Clubs help make this happen. Started in 1983, the Apple Computer Clubs (ACC) support and promote the use of computers as an educational tool for children. The emphasis of ACC materials, projects, promotions and contests is on one of Apple's oldest values -- positive social contribution. It's a chance for teachers, students and their parents to learn about computing technology while contributing to their community. ''Apple Computer Clubs are user groups for students,'' explains Merle Marsh, ACC adviser and teacher at Worcester Country School in Berlin, Md. ''Just like user groups serve the community, Apple Computer Clubs serve the schools.'' Because of club involvement, students and advisers learn more about computer use, and children have the opportunity to use their computing skills to benefit their schools, themselves and needy groups in their communities. User groups and Apple Computer Clubs are a natural match. Many user groups have special interest groups for children, or have members that teach professionally or volunteer time in their local school to work with kids and computers. Corporations also recognize the important role they can play in education. Since the Apple Computer Clubs program is part of the Apple User Group Connection, starting or working with the clubs is easy. The Apple Computer Clubs Handbook describes how to start and run a successful club. The Activity Plan Book highlights specific projects for children and adults to work on. Prizewinning ACC activities have included clubs creating multi-lingual computer how-to handbooks, using computers to promote fund raising in support of the injured, and producing information about seatbelt safety for elementary students. Apple Computer Clubs are regularly honored by national magazines, and members have been named citizens of the year and computer educators of the year. This year, the 1989 National Merit Competition in which both children and clubs are able to win equipment and national recognition had winners flown to Washington, D.C., to compete for grand prize honors. A highlight of the event was a breakfast on Capitol Hill, where winners met with their senators and congressional representatives. Dyslexics' Macintosh User Group The Forman School, a boarding school for college-bound learning disabled students, is home to the Dyslexics' Macintosh User Group. Over the past three years, the school's 220 students have used Macintosh computers to improve their ''Three R's'' -- Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmathtic. Even with no regular meetings or a newsletter, about 40 students and a dozen faculty form an enthusiastic group that invites third-party software developers for demos, and shares news of activity in the Macintosh community. ''Our group may be low-key, but it is enthusiastic about the Mac,'' explains faculty member Tim Shaw. ''The ease-of-use factor is important for our students, who have short memory retention. And the physical size of the Macintosh makes it a non-threatening element in their learning environment.'' About 50 students take Mac classes, with another 150 brought to the school's Macintosh Lab by their teachers for one-on-one learning. The ease of electronic editing aids students in their writing tasks, and often improves their handwriting skills as well, observes Shaw. The clarity of the Macintosh screen fonts, he explains, ''gives students continual visual reinforcement about what a letter should look like. Over time, it improves their ability to write characters more clearly.'' Tim Shaw Dyslexics' Macintosh User Group The Forman School Litchfield, Conn. 06759 (203)567-9048 Sierra Apple Orchard If you scheduled your user group meetings at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, how many members would attend? For the Sierra Apple Orchard, the answer is more than 100 at each meeting! This lively User Group was founded in 1982 with an Apple II focus and recently expanded to include a Macintosh division as well. ''We have a unique mix of business and education in our group,'' explains Carton Taylor, the 79-year-old Apple User Group ambassador. ''We have members who are business people, doctors and lawyers, as well as a number of teachers and students.'' This business/education focus is reflected in the group's meeting space, the new Valley Business Center. The center is a $12 million business complex with computer facilities attached to the Business Education Building on the California State University, Fresno campus. Located in the San Joaquin Valley between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Fresno also has a growing agricultural community. ''We have several members who are using their Mac for computerized farming,'' explains Taylor. ''Our strength is in bringing all these diverse interests together to share their approach to using Apple computers.'' Carton Taylor Sierra Apple Orchard P.O. Box 16275 Fresno 93755 (209)439-2446
USMAc: The West Point Macintosh User Group The West Point Macintosh User Group considers itself to be ''a small bastion in the wilderness of MS-DOS,'' and rightly so. The group is based at the U. S. Military Academy, where the 4,000 students are required to own MS-DOS computers. But this does not dampen the enthusiasm of the group's 50 members, the majority of whom are academy instructors. ''We may be outnumbered,'' says User Group President Capt. Joe DiGangi, ''but we have an active group that is very committed to the Macintosh.'' Members' interests range from word processing and presentation graphics used in their teaching, to telecommunications abilities to tie them into networks from home and at the academy. An active BBS with participants from around the world is run by Fred ''Fritz'' Kass, a USMAc member and captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve. This keeps USMAc members tied into the Macintosh community, as well as providing material for a monthly PD disk. DiGangi hopes that the new Macintosh models, with their ability to exchange MS-DOS files, will give Apple a better chance of securing a place at the academy. ''The academy currently owns only five Macintoshes, and most of our 50 members each have their own,'' says DiGangi. ''We're always looking for ways to improve those numbers.'' Capt. Joe DiGangi, USMAc Department of Mathematics U.S. Military Academy West Point, N.Y. 10996 (914)938-4811; AppleLink, UG0165 * 1989 Apple Computer, Inc. Apple, AppleLink, Mac and Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc. Quick Connect and The User Group Connection are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.
Copyright © november, 1989 by from Quick Connect