Middle school troubleshooters
All 700 students at Oliver W. Winch Middle School in upstate New York received Chromebooks during the 2017-18 school year. However, administrators soon realized they needed extra hands to troubleshoot software issues or simple hardware problems, such as how to reboot a computer, update an operating system or replace a screen. Administrators turned to students to form Tech Team Junior, creating a learning experience in the process.
“To begin with, we tagged kids who had exhibited a high interest in computers and had spent time in our makerspace and mini TV studio,” says Jerilyn Stellato, a technology integration specialist in South Glens Falls CSD.
Once a month, Tech Team Junior members meet after school with IT staff to learn about hardware repairs, such as replacing keyboard keys and batteries. An online Google classroom enables students to complete software training tasks on their own time. They also earn badges to show their repair capabilities to peers and teachers.
Now in its second year, Tech Team Junior comprises 19 students, nearly 75 percent of whom are sixth-graders. Professional IT support staffers still handle more complex problems. Overall, repair turnaround time is shorter, which means fewer learning disruption for other students.
“With a core set of well-trained students moving into ninth grade this coming year, we will be able to expand into the high school with an established tech team,” Stellato says.