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1. Students as Trainers and Support Systems for Staff and Teachers Students can be excellent trainers for instructional technology.They are often patient and supportive with teachers who can feel overwhelmed by new technology. Students can also give technology workshops to staff, students or the community. As instructional technology resources become scarce and budgets are cut, students can provide one-on-one support where teachers most need it — in the classroom.
2. Students as Technical Support Many “tech support” issues in school are not really about fixing broken things.They are simply people – both students and staff – who need a reminder about how things work or questions answered. By teaching students to provide some of these support services, it can free up adult technical support staff to focus on the bigger picture. Students can provide support in classrooms during free periods or the library in the form of a “Genius Bar.” By providing an important service to their community, students can learn technical and people skills that are valuable and empowering. Many schools worry that student tech support agents will be security problems or cause more issues than they can fix. But actually the opposite is true. Students who are given responsibility and show they can be trusted are more invested in their school.They are far less likely to be a security threat because they are part of the team who built it and has to fix it.
3. Students as Planners, Resource Developers and Advocates Students can support their school by creating curriculum resources, help guides, presentations, videos, and websites for class, school, or community use. Students can teach others about Internet safety and cyberbullying — and their peers are much more likely to listen. Students can be involved in monitoring safe and ethical use of new technology tools, along with planning and implementing their use in positive ways. Students can be the communicators to “walk the talk” of student empowerment to the community, school board, at conferences or other situations. If a school is looking to update policies around social media, why not include a student or two? Students can provide invaluable insight to the process, bringing real life examples and a different point of view to the discussions.
4. Students as Peer Mentors Peer mentoring is a well-known and effective strategy to increase student ownership in their work. In fact, mentoring is often more rewarding and academically enriching to the mentors as to those they mentor. English teachers use peer editing to improve student work, provide a wider range of reactions and comments, and teach editing and mentoring skills. Similarly, peer mentoring is a perfect complement to technology. By teaching peer mentors technology skills, they can support a wider range of technology, software and hardware.They can
FALL 2013 SouthEast Education Network
Southeast Education Network issue 15.2