Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Student Tech Teams: Using our Best Resurces

Student technology teams are a powerful co-curricular activity that I’m excited to see happening in more and more SCDSB schools. These teams support the goals of enhancing student leadership as well as supporting the development of deep learning skills around technology for the entire school community. Through student technology teams,  students assist their peers and teachers with technology (hardware, software, online tools and apps). 
Depending on the needs and resources of each particular school, these teams can play a variety of different roles including:
  • Assisting in classrooms in specific areas of technology (as simple as logging in or as complex as learning to use a new device)
  • Creating technology-related ‘how to’ videos, tutorials or blogs
  • Hosting ‘lunch and learns’ on specific topics for staff or students
  • Hosting parent information nights
  • Creating engaging video announcements for the school community (instead of traditional announcements over the PA)
  • Community outreach such as partnering with seniors, the library or a community living group
  • Providing ‘helpdesk’ support for staff
  • Participating in ‘tech buddies’ (think reading buddies with younger students but with tech instead of books)
The possibilities are only limited by the imagination of the students…meaning they are endless!
Student tech leadership teams stand out from more traditional school activities because they are of equal benefit to both staff and students. When it comes to technology, the students who often know more than the adults really are our best resources!
For student participants, as well as providing the opportunity to develop specific skills related to technology, tech team activities also develop all of the crucial life skills that we call the 6 C’s (character education, citizenship, communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity). I have seen tech teams engage students who were previously not connected to leadership opportunities within the school, helping them find their voice, become involved and connected to the school in a meaningful and intrinsically rewarding way.
The benefits are also great for other students in the school. Tech teams can create a learning culture in schools where students  see that learning happens all through the day, not just during class. It also involves all stakeholders. Learning isn’t just something that is bestowed upon students, it is active and involves staff as co-learners. When students see their teachers learning alongside them, they feel safe trying new things as well. Most of all, student love to learn from their peers and what better way to engage students than by encouraging these opportunities!
Lastly, we can’t  forget about the benefits to staff. Through student leaders, teachers who are not as tech savvy can also have a non-threatening entry point to learning in this area. Additionally, when a student invites a staff member to attend professional learning about something important to them that they have planned and facilitated, staff are motivated to attend and acknowledge their student’s work, all while learning themselves.  
Below are the links to some of the presentations that I have co-facilitated on this topic:
Let me leave  you with a quote that I feel summarizes the power of student technology leadership teams in schools. “It is not about the technology; it’s about sharing knowledge and information, communicating efficiently, building learning communities and creating a culture of professionalism in schools.” – Marion Ginapolis

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