Monday, May 19, 2014

Student help making waves

On Saturday, I had the privilege of going to #txgoo, The Texas Google Summit held in Brenham, Texas this year. Not only did I see educators smiling and laughing, but they were learning. And, I was once again reminded of how important it is for learning to be fun and for their to be time to play while learning.

Several of the sessions were done via Google Hangouts - something we have started doing with our teachers and did at our Ninja Academy last year. As participants walked into the room, they naturally waited for a presenter, looked for a presenter and were caught off guard when they presenter appeared via a computer screen. However, it is crucial educators see this way of learning as well. In fact, I would never have seen Sean Beavers' student help site without it. It was transforming and I cannot wait to start it.

Sean Beavers is none other than the State of Tech creator. He is also the creator of this fantastic presentation on developing student tech groups, capable of solving and fixing most campus tech issues.

What I liked was that the student tech help group was completely integrated with Google. Forms, Appointment Slots, Gmail, and FormMule ran the program. Talk about Google Integration! Though his was done on a one high school model, I would love to replicate this across our district of nearly 60 campuses. To have a group of students at each campus, but one on the district level, helping our Information Services department solve the district-level help tickets would not only help our tech officers, but it would be an invaluable experience for students.

I am anxious to try out a similar model and to get students solving and fixing problems. On my high school campus where students are routinely disciplined for "hacking" into our systems, how would it transform them to get permission to "hack" and help us? How can we channel their energy, efforts, and intelligence to be beneficial to the campus? How would this be a better approach to those technically gifted students?

Stay tuned for updates as I try to replicate this model at our district and bring it full force!

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