Channel Your Inner Guru, Computer Guru That Is…

If you teach media or journalism in today’s classroom, you need to know your tech. I can’t say enough how important this is and I often can’t believe it when a fellow media teacher tells me that he/she does not understand computers.

Just today I spent much of my non-teaching time dealing with a printer that didn’t want to print and a software issue with our district’s web software (Adobe Contribute). Both stopped working correctly today and I’m not sure why. The printer – a Konica color laser has always been a kludge, was a hard fix. I had to search the web most of the day (during lunch) to find a third party and free driver solution. It finally worked and I spent about an hour after school loading it on every computer in my lab. The Contribute issue is more strange and still not solved. But that is just an average day.

It seems like there is always one computer acting up, and if not the computer, then the software or drivers or who knows. Here are some skills you should know to be a good media teacher:

-How to install software packages correctly as well as configure them for use.
-How to add and uninstall fonts.
-How to network computers with ethernet standard Cat-5 cable and hubs.
-How to add RAM, change a hard drive or add a video or network card to a computer.
-How to troubleshoot a printer problem.
-How to connect a digital camera or a card reader and download the photos.
-How to use a DV camera with a firewire cable to download video.
-How to set up a network drive and create user accounts.
-How to create a PDF in InDesign for printing a newspaper or yearbook page.
-How to crop a photo at 300 dpi in Photoshop to fit in picas or inches.
-How to hook up and use an LCD Projector.
-How to create a web page using a WYSIWYG editor.

These are just some of the basic computer skills you should have as a media teacher.   Today, teaching media is always done on the computer.  But don’t be scared if you aren’t the master of all things digital.  Most media creation software is based on a few simple concepts and once you master one or two, the others come easily.  Technology is easier today than ever and much more likely to plug and play too!  And if all else fails – read the manual!  But if you are going to teach it, you have to know it.

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