May 20, 2017

Hacking Education Part 5-Student Gurus

Ever since I heard about Generation YES which trains students to be technology leaders and support, I had been intrigued with the idea of creating one where I was working.
So, I started a mini program with my 4th graders during the 2009-10 school year. I taught at a Title I school and many laptop carts (8) were available because they were not being used for one reason or another. I talked with the principal and we agreed I could have 3 carts (2-iBooks and 1-PC) in my room IF (always a catch), I got all of the carts up ready for classroom use AND we would support other classrooms.
Challenge Accepted!
The start up was very frustrating! It took a week to get them on the district network, online, and then update the various programs that we wanted to use. However, the entire process was very productive, because students took the time to learn what to do for each issue and then taught their classmates. Ultimately, they became my go-to people. In my initial meeting with them, I told them,

My requirement to help others was that they were on-top of their work first and then they could be called at anytime to help. If they couldn't handle this workload, then they were dismissed to focus on academics until they were caught up. There were 7 students who took this opportunity seriously. After we had gotten our devices up and going as well as the other 5 laptop carts (to be used by other classes), they were the ones who went to other classrooms and helped the teachers and students use them. Besides their beaming faces and the confidence they exuded when they came back from a mission, they were very happy and engaged students.
One issue developed after these missions started. My students started complaining that others were not as careful with the laptops as we were and that it was a pain to remind them to take care of them and to keep showing them the same things over and over again. I had to laugh and tell them that it takes time and patience to get where we were and not to judge because they did not have the training they did. They understood and the complaining reduced significantly.
I didn't have any teacher pushback on this small program because the principal supported it and teachers were already calling me during class time to support help them.
I enjoyed the process and aim to set one up again with the proper support.
I'd encourage you to do the same if tech support isn't as you hope, and if you are able to.
If you want to know more of how to set up your own, check out the Generation YES program and then contact me to support you creating yours.

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