Making learning about technology fun and relevant for today’s kids isn’t easy. However, eleven 8th grade girls from Nora Cronin Presentation Academy recently visited DocuWare’s U.S. headquarters for an experience that did just that. Their visit is part of DocuWare’s continuing initiative to support local students who are interested in working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The Academy is a private middle school for girls from minority or low-income communities in the City of Newburgh and the greater Hudson Valley area. The school's goal is to break the cycle of poverty through education, while instilling a sense of self and a community-minded perspective in their students.
What makes STEM education tick?
STEM education takes an integrated approach that focuses on hands-on learning. With that in mind, Maria Holden, Support Manager Americas at DocuWare, along with her team: Tatiana Weems, Aracelys Toribio and Shawn Rutigliano, created a workshop for the students to learn by doing. Summer intern Janik Mueller helped out during the workshop.
Our workshop was about creating a real-world, collaborative environment for the students. It is a special privilege to work with the future generation. What’s important for us is teaching these young students that while moving from paper to digital is all about saving trees, having remote access from anywhere or being able to easily collaborate with teammates in order to successfully deliver a project – they need to have a clear understanding of business processes and technology in order to know how to develop a strategy for their future employers.
We want to address this knowledge gap and what better place to start than with the thought leaders of tomorrow! Here’s how we approached the issue:
The ins and outs of using a document management system
The 8th graders were divided into four teams. Each team was assigned to work at a different fictitious company. The teams were made up of a web designer, a marketing manager and a purchasing agent.
“We started by explaining the use of DocuWare Forms,” Holden said. “Everyone uses forms as part of their day-to-day life, so the kids could easily understand how convenient forms are. Just for fun, Janik taught the students how to embed a meme into a form.”
After a brief introduction to forms, the web designers created one themselves. Then the marketing manager designed a simple workflow that kicked off an automated process by sending an email to purchasing agent to notify them what goods to order. The purchasing agent placed an order and used DocuWare Smart Connect to share information with their company’s accounting system.
The workshop demonstrated how document management systems integrate with other software and move information through different departments in a company. “These 8th graders learned that everyone in an organization has a job to do, and it takes cooperation to achieve a common goal,” Holden explains. “I also wanted to inspire a curiosity about technology in these students. I’d like to see more girls pursuing careers in the computer field.”
Some of the students’ strongest impressions included meeting DocuWare Corporation President, Jim Roberts who spoke to them the importance of technology in today’s world. He encouraged the students to gain a good understanding of all STEM subjects. He noted that a solid understanding of technology and how it impacts our lives every day, offers them more options when they choose a career.
At DocuWare a work-life balance is an important part of our corporate culture. While the students loved our gym and yoga room and tried out some exercise moves with MIRROR, they were most impressed with our nap pod where employees can recharge during the workday.
Cathy Squillini, Director of the summer program there, commented on how the visit to DocuWare fit in with Academy goals. “We introduce students to successful female role models and arranging visits to local companies is a great way to accomplish this. As a result of these activities, the girls are encouraged to envision themselves going to college and having a fulfilling career,” she said.
Joan Honig is Marketing Content Manager at DocuWare.