On a busy day back in December, I was in my office trying to get a student iPad to work. Another student who happened to be with me at the time noticed my frustration and offered to take a look at it. Within about 30 seconds, he had the problem solved. Fifth graders never cease to amaze me. I casually mentioned to him that we ought to put him to work around here! This seemed to peak his interest and he began to talk about how he often helps teachers and students with these types of situations. He is a techie. I told him how some secondary schools have a student run “geek squad” that does this very thing and I could see he was very intrigued by this.
I talked to my principal about it, and she suggested that we put the ball in his court so to speak. True ownership develops that way (I learn so much from her!) and she told him to grab a crew, draft up a proposal, and return with a rough outline of how such a thing might run on our campus. And that was that. Soon winter break came, then January, and to be honest I completely forgot about the brief and casual conversation. And then one day…
I was at my desk working on some papers when the secretary walked in and said that a “group of fifth graders” was here to see me. Oh No. Now what?? Sentences like that, well, they tend to put a sort of damper on things. I walked out to see this same student, along with four others, and he said, “Hey Ms. Logue, remember back in December when you said I should put together a proposal for that tech thing? Well, I found a crew, and we have a plan…”
For the next half an hour or so, the group met with my principal and me. They outlined their proposal and it went something like this:
- We would have office hours during recess and also before school.
- We thought about how students and teachers might go about requesting our help. First we thought of building a website, then a Google Doc, but finally settled on just a paper form with information to fill out and leave for us, in an envelope in the hallway. Why involve tech with those who are having tech troubles!!
- We would troublshoot minor problems for staff and students, such as wifi, loading apps, cropping pics and such.
- We would be willing to lead training for the staff (such as at a staff meeting after school) on various ideas for incorporating technology in their lessons and learning new apps and platforms. An “open” session which both teachers and students could attend.
- We could go into classrooms to lead “large group” sessions, such as helping a class of students set up their digital portfolios on Google sites (a campus initiative) with their teacher, or to learn a new website, or movie making app.
- We would make sure to maintain our grades and stay on top of our classwork, so that at the end of the day we could take five or ten minutes to go through the forms and divide up the jobs for the coming day(s).
We were so impressed! We asked them some clarifying questions, my principal showed the group the Best Buy Geek Squad image, and talked a little bit with them about branding. The group played around with some ideas for their own name and emblem, and settled on “Tech Stars” because our mascot is the Stars. They used a star for the A; here is their logo design:
After school, we located an empty classroom we felt would be a perfect “office spot” for them, with a couple of desks, tables, and a whiteboard on which to brainstorm learning sessions they can hold with our staff.
Here is a video the students made so that we could introduce the new team to our school on the morning announcements:
Here is the flyer with their information. Staff and students will use this when they request their services:
We also set up a meeting between the Tech Stars and our campus technology liasian. He went over some basic “do’s” and “don’t” with them. Boy did they feel important! My principal had official (well, kind of) badges made up for them with their identifying information, complete with plastic badgeholders and lanyards. Here are some pictures of them in their meeting and receiving their badges. I love the looks of excitement and pride on their faces!
And then we officially introduced the team at our staff meeting!
I just can’t wait to see them in action, helping students, leading staff development sessions after school…and to think, I never thought I would hear from him again! I am blown away by the initiative and leadership shown by that student. We have no idea how this student-led initiative will pan out. It is new to us all. But I kinda think it’s in pretty good hands!
Two thoughts stand out to me as I reflect on this:
1. Kids do some pretty amazing things when we put the ball in their court.
2. School cultures that honor creativity and risk-taking make dreams come true every day.
I am the luckiest AP around!