Futurekids, an organization based in Los Angeles, has approximately 400 Centres worldwide and teaches in approximately 1,000 locations. Dianne has been with the Centre on Avenue Road in Toronto for almost four years; teaching computer literacy to all ages from 3 to 103! The staff at Futurekids tries to be extremely flexible with their timing, location and programming, and will often hold classes at schools and anywhere else they're needed.
Dianne enjoys the business; with her students finding it fun and quite competitive as the idea catches on. Regular classes are taught after school and on weekends and they also offer camps whenever school is "out". Last summer the staff at Futurekids worked out of four locations with over 1200 kids!
Camps held at the Centre are 3 hours long, 4 days per week, and the ones at other locations depend upon the customers' needs and wants. They have a curriculum that is developed around technical skills important to understanding the computer; how it works and how they can use it as a tool to achieve a goal/objective. Dianne believes that their strength lies in the fact that their curriculum changes on a regular basis - the children don't "play" on the computer - they're learning life skills that help them both fill in the gaps in their knowledge and excite them while they're learning. Computer literacy is emphasized, rather than teaching any one software product. Once people understand the technicalities involved with any one product, they can then use the skills in any other.
Futurekids on Avenue Road has recently signed a contract with a school board and are running two pilot programss in two schools in the district. This can lead to much more exciting work with many more kids! Futurekids also has an excellent teacher training program and can implement anything in a school; from teacher training, to full implimentation, up to a complete turnkey. (with hardware, software,etc.)
The Avenue Road Futurekids is also involved with a local community centre, in an attempt to reach even more people; particularly seniors. This program will begin in February '97 and Diane finds it exciting because she believes that there's a lot of pressure on seniors to get on the Net -- their grandchildren want them to do it too! She feels that this program gives them the opportunity to reach out to the community even more and so many people feel the pressure to get computer literate and are bewildered because they are busy and yet need to know!
According to Dianne, this is a community business where you put people in contact with hardware suppliers, Internet providers, etc. Their adult computer literacy course and Internet courses have been very popular -- they specialize in basic literacy courses and leave the sophisticated "stuff" to the many other companies out there. Diane finds the work rewarding as she gets to know their customers well and often sees them again and again - they work with the parents, then the kids, then....the staff at Avenue Road Futurekids becomes a resource centre for many of their customers' needs.
It's evident that Dianne loves the work she's doing! We'd originally contacted her because of a recent article that was written about her and Futurekids in "The Entertaining & Computing Magazine". After learning more about the contributions she and the other members of the Avenue Road Futurekids organization are doing in their community, we know you'll all agree that she also deserves congratulations for opening the door to new opportunities for learning and communications for all the people she teaches each day! What an achievement!
Futurekids on Avenue Road in Toronto will have a website in the near future!
To send email to Dianne.
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