New ways mean new teaching

The past few months we have been discussing the benefits of automation with custom programming either on websites or a program that is for in-office use. We have seen how these benefits have been helpful to the employees’ of the company and to the customer. This week we are going to take a step back from the world of technical automation and look at how we can leverage it for educational benefits.

Whether you work with children, or have your own, you have most likely seen the seemingly million different apps that are available for kids. New ones come out all of the time that are suppose to teach various life skills. While this is not an app, per se, about eight years ago a special education teacher came to me because she was frustrated with the idea that she was still teaching her students to pay bills by writing checks. She thought that if she was going to help prepare students for the real world, she needed to be teaching them real-world skills and as you probably know, paying bills by writing a check is definitely going out of style. She wanted to teach them to pay their bills with on-line bill pay.

She looked for an existing system that would give her the ability to teach this but when none was already available, she sought me out to build her a custom solution. By looking at my own bank, where I pay my own bills with bill pay, I was able to recreate a stripped down experience of on-line banking with the ability to “pay” bills. While I’m just the developer, it is my understanding that she deposits money (fake of course) into their on-line accounts and then gives them bills to pay. Since writing checks is not completely obsolete yet, she also has the ability to go into each student’s account and make transactions as if she was an actual bank teller. With this ability, she is then able to do things like have the students write checks so that they are still learning that skill.

This is just one of many ways technology can be used for educational purposes and this is a fantastic example of how a custom solution can help in accomplishing a goal. Instead of going along with the rest of the herd, this teacher realized that she was not only teaching her students skills that are becoming obsolete, but she wasn’t teaching the new and upcoming life’s skills. It is unfortunately human nature to resist change but as we know, change is the only constant in life.

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