(by Don Meador, Allen County Schools)
Students in Advanced Computer Applications last semester were able to learn about computer applications in the real-world thanks to a series of guest speakers---speakers who brought practical experiences and examples to the classrooms. Under the direction of Business Educator Laura Carter, several guest speakers visited the class and engaged the students around topics such as business travel, working alongside others in workplace, and companies, corporations, and stocks.
During a unit on Business Travel---focused on international travel with lessons on Itineraries, agendas, and planning the trip taking into consideration details surrounding hotel, plane, and rental car arrangements---Carter asked two local residents to offer their work-related expertise to the students.
“John Saylors works at Sumitomo and does a lot of international business travel for SEWS,” Carter explained. “He talked about his job at SEWS as well as his many in and out of country travels including how he deals with preparing for the trip, hotels, planes, dress, itineraries, communication, getting around, and dealing with different cultures. He also brought examples from his trips that he has taken for students to look at. He did a really good job and students were so interested and wanted to know so much more. Mark Taylor from at Corporate Dollar General also visited. Mr. Taylor also does a lot of international business travel for Dollar General and talked about his job at DG as well as his many in and out of country travels. He presented a PowerPoint to students and talked about DG and what all they do, the many jobs they have, and the many stores they have opened and many more to open and where they are all located.”
Also speaking to the students during the first semester was Allen County Public Library Director Sheila Stovall.
“Sheila used to work in human resources,” Laura Carter noted. “She talked about her job duties then and how she became a librarian with her background in business and how that helps her with her job now.”
Brian Carter, assistant Allen County School Superintendent, talked to the students about the Stock Market and the different terminology and vocabulary. Mr. Carter explained how one would need to do research before buying stocks and told them how and what to look for to buy and how to buy and sell. Afterwards, the students were given a chance to experiment with the Stock Market.
“Students then had a stock market assignment where they had $10,000 and had to buy 10 different stocks,” Laura Carter explained. “They had to decide how many of each stock to buy and then they did Excel Spreadsheet to enter all the information about the stock, ticker symbol, how it did last year and what they ‘bought’ it for. Students also had to prepare a PowerPoint presentation researching and explaining each stock they bought and why. For four weeks the students watched the stocks and during the last week of school before Christmas, the students ‘sold’ their stocks. Most of the students ended up making money. Some students did lose money as well. The most gained was over $800 and most lost was around -$300. The students wrapped the project up by updating their Excel spreadsheet to reflect gain/losses for each stock and end result, updated their PowerPoint and prepared a research paper over the project.
Laura Carter adds that guest speakers offer students a first-hand look at the world with their experiences serving as a bridge between what students study and what the students will encounter in the business world.