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QTL for IT Educators > News > Article Summaries > Current Article
First Person Success Stories
as related by QTL™ Teachers

The following are teachers' own accounts of their experiences implementing QTL™ (formerly known as ExplorNet) programs, ideas, and strategies. If you have an experience you'd like to share,

Lee Courtney

Perry Central High School, Perry County, MS
September 2004

A Mississippi teacher finds former students excelling.

I have 12 students in my Computer Engineering class this year. More wanted to enroll but I don't have the room. Only one student is a return. He is being run ragged by all the teachers. After being put up for the summer, several computers seemed to be running slow. During these few weeks of the new school year, he has trouble "shooted" 20 computers, helped set up a networking lab, fixed 5 computers from the community (and they keep calling), and assisted me with the "newbies," or baby Computer Engineering students. He wants to take the C+ exam this year. I am very confident that he will succeed.

One of my former students graduated last May and is already enrolled in the Computer Science program at the University. During this summer, she worked part time at Perry Vocational High School, helping with computer problems and cleaning. She also was in demand from the community and people from her church to fix several computers.

The (QTL™) ExplorNet program has been a benefit to students, teachers, and the community. I am glad that I was able to be a part of it again this year.


Bert Chu
Barton/West Helena High Schools, AR
September 2004

An Arkansas teacher tries something new.

This year I have instructed my Level 2 class on how to wire part of our classroom for networking. The district got us some new computers last year to set up a lab, and I decided to let my upper level students try their hands at making CAT5 cables and running the lines to connect a LAN in our room with a patch panel and switch. Well, guess what, so far so good. We can all get on the Internet now. Our next step is to set up the LAN so that they can see how to share files and a printer in our room. (Kind of a learning ground for me, too.) I plan on setting up the other half of the lab with a wireless LAN. That should prove to be interesting.

I have had 2 of my former students that graduated last year contact me about continuing their tech education. One is at DeVry in Dallas, TX. The other one is working during the day and enrolled at ITT (post secondary Tech school) at night in Memphis. They were 2 of my 3 completers last year."


Timothy Yount
High Point Central High School, Guilford County, NC
September 2004

A flurry of new ideas will keep a pair of Computer Engineering teachers at a North Carolina high school busy with more than just computer repair -- and will benefit their students and others.

(I had the) idea of setting up some pc's for use in the EC (exceptional children) and OCS (Occupational Course of Study) classrooms. Our new principal is supportive of the idea and, in fact, added the thought of putting some PC's into the classroom used for our ISS (In-School Suspension) program.

I suspect that all of these PC's will end up being standalone and at most will be networked together in order to set up an intranet onto which a central server(s) can be set up to provide the programs for the students. However, the lack of Internet access for the ISS and EC rooms should not present any problem. In fact, it is probably the best to not have Internet access for ISS. The EC children can get plenty of use from the PC's by utilizing the CD and multimedia components...

Also, I had made a suggestion to the principal to that we utilize the internal video system that was installed in the past couple of years. The idea was to create a 'news' program by the students for the students. This has evolved through discussion by a group of people (including the media center staff, the 9th grade assistant principal, and the principal, Mr. Angell, and myself) into a set of three different productions.


Darlene Harper
Millbrook High School, Raleigh, NC
April 2004

A QTL™/ExplorNet Networking teacher says the program lays a strong foundation for further study in Information Technology.

As one of the teachers that piloted (QTL's Networking) for the State of NC three years ago, I have seen the time tested results of having this program in the success rates of my students who have had Net Essentials and then gone into the Cisco Academy. The State Department is correct to stress the importance of Networking I to the students of NC. They need this preparation in order to be successful and master the Cisco curriculum.

I really think (QTL™) provides great support -- the kind of support teachers need. Even though I am multi-certified and proficient using many operating systems, I found the depth of training and support to be invaluable.

I also enjoyed the human networking with other teachers from counties and high schools in all parts of NC. We shared ideas and teaching tips. I have seen your staff personally work with teachers one on one and offer your services individually as well as collectively. We would not get this type of support any where else. Your trainers were excellent. Also, I would like to recommend to everyone interested in summer training that they look at what this organization has to offer.


Greg Thoyre
Orange High School, Hillsborough, NC
March 2004

A North Carolina teacher tells how QTL™/ExplorNet programs have worked in his school district.

We have offered Computer Engineering (CE) and Networking at Orange for about 5-6 years.  Both of the teachers involved (myself included) were trained by ExplorNet, and we have both become nationally certified computer technicians. 

For the first two years of our CE classes, our students did nearly all of the support for our 450+ networked computers.  Later, one of our graduates, who left high school with three national computer certifications, took a job doing tech support for us.  While his excellent work took some of our students' work opportunities away, we have continued to do a considerable amount of tech support which is good for our district and for our students. Our classes are always filled, and I can honestly say that our students really enjoy them. 

Part of the reason for this is that ExplorNet has involved us in some very exciting and rewarding activities.  For instance, our classes were involved in a computer-building fest, Operation Reboot, to help provide computers for schools who had lost theirs in a hurricane several years ago.  We also upgraded and repaired computers that were given away by Red Hat at Knowledge Nova a couple of years back.  This latter opportunity was the result of some work ExplorNet had done with Red Hat, which eventually resulted in our school becoming part of a pilot program with them.  We ended up with a computer lab which is a technological marvel used by classes throughout our school.  It was built for the unbelievable sum of around $2,500.  (That is not a typo!)  We have also offered an entire course on Linux, which has become an instant success.  ExplorNet built Linux curricular modules into their CE and Networking curricula.  I do not believe there are many states offering such curricula in their high schools at the present time, but I am positive that they will come to see the need to do so. 

ExplorNet is just ahead of the game, as usual.  Nearly every teacher and student who has had the chance to be exposed to their Linux curriculum has walked away with a better understanding of technology and with a hunger to learn more about the fastest growing operating system in the world. 

(QTL™/ExplorNet) has been a real leader in technology education in our state.  I can safely say that without them we would not have had the technology programs that are currently in place.  They have provided an excellent curriculum and superlative training.  By way of illustration, let me note that I have yet to bother to buy a textbook for my CE or Networking classes due to the quality of their Teacher Resource Guides.  Moreover, my experiences with the programs as a trainee and trainer have provided me invaluable avenues for professional growth.  They treat teachers as partners in the process of educating students.  I can think of no higher praise as an educator.


Lynne Houston
Hattiesburg High School, Hattiesburg, MS
February 2004

At first reluctant, Computer Engineering teacher experiences unexpected results -- and gets through to students who were bound for trouble.

In November of 2001, my superintendent (Dr. James Davis) asked me to please consider attending a technology workshop called ExplorNet. The only thing I new about computers was how to type a test, letter, etc., send e-mail, spreadsheets, and just surf the net. I really wasn't that interested. I told him I would think about it.

A few days later my principal Mr. John Simpson asked me about the workshop again. I told him to find someone else. He told me there was no one else. He also told me there were 12 students that were determined at-risk students. If we did not get them in a class that they could pass or that would keep them in school they were sure to be sent to Camp Shelby or the "Boys" school in Mississippi. This is NOT a school that anyone would want to go to.

I said I would go to the workshop learn about technology come back and teach the students and try to help the district. I knew absolutely nothing about the ExplorNet program. I thought I would go learn a little come back and teach my students how to send e-mail.

I was sent to Jackson, Mississippi. The first thing the instructor told us was that we were there to learn how to build a computer. I laughed out loud - you see, I DON'T break my nails. He was serious. I found myself very involved and learning the names of every part of the "INSIDE" of a computer. More importantly what the parts did and where they go to make the computer work. All by myself I installed a "MOTHERBOARD" within the first 15 minutes. I thought WOW I'm smart!!! I got so excited about computer engineering. The entire workshop was a total success. I learned more about computers in two weeks than I ever learned about history in four years at college.

Then I returned home. I was so totally excited about teaching again. I could not wait to get my computer lab set up.

Then the students came. On the first day back from Christmas I was given 12 students. I was also given their folders. All of them were at-risk or students who had been given one last chance before being sent to a juvenile school. Three were on probation with a judge. After the second day I thought I had died and gone to hell. Then I decided I was going to make this work.

I had a student who had skipped more days the first semester than he had attended.

The third day of class Mr. Simpson came to my room and told me his computer in his office was making a loud noise. Would I please see if I could find out what was wrong with his computer? He didn't want to lose anything on his computer. I sent two students that I thought I could trust to get the supervising principal's computer out of his office and bring it back to my lab. We plugged it in and heard a loud noise coming from inside the computer. We opened it up and plugged it up again and discovered the fan was making a loud noise. We replaced the fan which cost $5.46 and made the principal very happy. We were instant HEROES!!! The word spread and everyone was impressed.

The students were told that they were going to be responsible for two things the first week of class. They had to speak to the local TV station and make a 100 on their safety test. On TV in front of God and everyone in the viewing area they would tell if they passed or failed the safety test. All parents were required to be there as well. They almost died. This meant that they had to open a book and study the safety notes to pass the test. Some had never done this. They also had to tell the area what the ExplorNet program was about and what they would be doing. Again, some of them were very upset that this meant that they would have to pay attention in class to know what was going on.

We went over and over the notes. They found out they were going to actually learn how to build computers themselves and possibly hold a job that would give them money. This got their attention. I required all of them to come "dressed-up" the day of the first TV shoot. They really did look and smell great!! I could see sense of pride that had been rekindled in them. You see all 12 made a 100 on their first safety test. They were the biggest "HAMS" you've ever seen!!! They started telling information I didn't ever realize they heard me say. Everyone in the community became very interested and wanted the students to assist in their places of business.

The students were not very happy about having to learn so much from their book first. However, they were told they could not build a computer unless they made an 85 or better on every chapter test.

The "KITS" arrive!!! Everyone started studying and showing up for class and staying in class the whole period! Everyone wanted to build a computer. The first build was slow. We actually learned the names and functions of all parts. Then I told the students that Gov. Ronnie Musgrove wanted every teacher in the state of Mississippi to have a computer for the classroom, and there was a possibility that the ExplorNet classroom would help build the computers that the teachers would use. The students were ecstatic!!!

Then Michael Boyd (from the governor's office) called and reported that we were going to get a grant to pay students to work through the summer to build computers for the classrooms. My students were very excited about meeting other students at the computer builds at the different locations in the state. My students wanted to be the best group there. They didn't just want to build computers; they wanted to work for EXPLORNET!

We began the summer build. One of my students saved every penny he earned and bought his first car (a very used car; nonetheless it was his - he worked for it and paid for it himself).

This group of students became so close-knit. They were a team. They began to change not only in my class but the carryover was seen in all their other classes. All students were now passing with a C or better in all classes. The other teachers were now calling on them to help them with their computers. You will never know the sense of pride that had been instilled in these students when they were called upon to do a task that they could be successful in. You will never know the sense of accomplishment they had felt when they were successful. I was so proud for them.

As the success for the class had grown the success for each child also grew. Students were being interviewed by The New York Times, CNN, Education Weekly, and Reader's Digest.

Now I had to bring them back down to earth..

The year was almost over, and 8 of the 12 were seniors. These students are now ALL involved with technology careers. 4 are in computer engineering school, 2 are in junior college computer engineering programs, and 2 are already employed as computer technicians.

This is what teaching is all about!!! When you can give your students the opportunity to successfully enhance their skills to be productive citizens in society, you have fulfilled your mission as a teacher. I don't know what would have become of these students if this program had not been provided for these students. There is a greater being that always knows how to provide for our needs. He truly came through for these students in the (QTL™) EXPLORNET program.


Ashley Jones
Perryville High School, Perryville, AR
November 2003

A new Computer Engineering teacher finds rapid gratification in program's quick success.

(QTL's Computer Engineering) is great.  I love it and so do my students. 

I have 11 students enrolled (only one girl) and all but about three are planning to do something with computers after high school.  They have learned so much and are applying it in so many ways.  Teachers are asking my students to help them when they have a problem with a computer in the classroom and my kids are solving most of them.  The kids get so excited when they come to class and tell me what they've done.  I am amazed at how well it is going.  We have our problems and there is still a lot we don't know, but it has been an excellent experience so far.

I had one parent come in to see me during parent-teacher conferences and she wanted to thank me for making such a difference in her child's life.  He is in the 10th grade and is in special education.  She said he hated school and wanted to quit at the beginning of the year and get his GED.  She said my class had changed his mind.  She said in his other classes he felt like he was an outcast because he wasn't as smart as the other kids.  He felt like the teachers and students were making fun of him.  But she said he didn't feel that way in my class.  He felt just as smart as everyone else.  All the other teachers here talk about what a behavior problem he can be, but this kid is the perfect student for me.  He is sweet and smart and will do anything I ask him to.  I know this class is the reason for it and I feel so honored that I have been able to have such an impact on this student's life through it.

I have another student who, since we built computers in this class, has began his own side business.  He has built computers for two different people in the community and is in the process of building one for his church right now.  This student also wants to take the A+ exam.  He is a great student and I was thinking about trying to get (the ExplorNet Certificate of Excellence)...

We have built 12 computers so far, set up the elementary campus for a new server, and are now in the process of rewiring the elementary campus with cat5 cable.  The kids have done a wonderful job on all these projects.  We have had articles in the paper about us three different times.  We are hoping in the spring to offer some of our services to the community.

Anyway, I just wanted to share the good news with you guys. Can't thank you enough. I am so proud to be a part of this.


For more information, contact Robin Fred via e-mail at or call him at 888.507.3800.

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