The students are learning
The teenagers on the involve course are considered to have less than fortunate backgrounds. Sadly, their educational level reflects this. “Even the brightest student in the classes have an academic ability below the national average” are the words from a local volunteer. This came as no real shock since this program aims to help such a group of people. What surprised me was that even in this select demographic, there exists a vast range of academic ability. A perfect example is the two students I mentor, let’s call them Guy and Amy.
Guy  is one of the cleverest students in the class. While he understands how to navigate around a computer (he enjoys creating skateboarding videos in his spare time) there are obvious gaps to his knowledge. For example, he has never created a presentation and marvels at the way formulas in Spreadsheets can make simple arithmetic calculations.
Amy  has spent minimal time with a computer. It is not intuitive that a single click selects a file and a double click opens a file. When typing, each index figure is responsible for one half of the keyboard. For this reason, the steep learning curve can de-motivate Amy. Fortunately, with the variety of activities (in addition to computing lessons) Amy on all occasions regained her positivity and motivation. For example, a craft activity today ignited Amy’s enthusiasm. The occasional smile during the computing class turned into a frequent feature as she artfully created a wallet making activity. Upon successful completion of the task, her confidence was renewed and hopefully she will be motivated for tomorrow.
Personally, mentoring the students through the computing classes reminds me that I was once taught all the skills I take for granted now. I’m truly glad for all the students that through the INVOLVE project they have the opportunity to learn these skills now (and during the year-long course) so they can work towards their dreams of opening a graphics design company and going to university abroad for Guy and Amy respectively.