One of the most important tasks of a Media Mentor is to assist students when they need help. This can be because they don't remember the directions, or they have a more complicated scenario than is covered in the workshop, or they are having technical issues such as needing files converted or improving digital photography. Many of these troubleshooting tasks rely on various utility software packages that we have in the lab. Knowing the specific tasks that each package is there to address (when often more than one software can get the job done -- but one is preferable) is key to solving students problems and getting them back to work with as little stress as possible.
To that end, the students are introduced to a folder of utility software packages with a demonstration given for each one. This Absorb activity is done in person and an overview of the software is discussed and shown - while the unique or preferred tasks are highlighted. Often I will state a problem first and see if anyone in the group has a way to address it already. We discuss the suggested way, and compare it to the suggested software tool. It may be the "preferred" way, it may be an alternate way, or I may even learn a New Preferred way - since technology is always changing and I am always learning! Some students learn best when they just watching a demonstration, some attempt the techniques right along with me. A worksheet is handed out during the demonstration that they can use to remind them of each programs' best use case(s) and as a study guide. I strive to present material in multiple ways so that different learning styles are addressed. They are seeing it as I show them, we are discussing pros and cons and they are given a handout as a study guide.
After the demonstration which lasts just under an hour the students are given time to practice. This Do activity gives them a chance to practice what they've learned. A copy of that sheet is here:
Once the students feel they are ready, they will take a quiz without having the study sheet as a reference. They must complete it with less than 2 errors. This is both a Do activity and the assessment. This can be the same day, or any time within the first 2 weeks of their employment. They are given time to practice and assignments with deliverables for a larger project which will require their using some of these utilities which should help them connect the features and remember them. A copy of the quiz is here:
The answer sheet for the quiz is here:
In addition to the drill and practice and hands-on DO activities, an additional Connect activity is added to make sure they they are not just memorizing one aspect per tool, but can conceptualize the different programs and explain them to a student supervisor or the Lab manager to model explaining the proper techniques to a student who is asking for their help. Students are given a scenario-based oral quiz where a students has some issue and is asking for help. They must figure out what must be done and select the appropriate tool to help the student. Then they must show the supervisor how they would explain it to the student.