Last spring I proposed a Student Help Desk program for our high school. My hope was for students to have the opportunity to create tutorials that would help teachers and students integrate BYOD more smoothly and successfully at our school. See, I don't believe in tech for tech's sake. But our students are already bringing incredibly powerful smartphones and tablets to school, so why not teach them to leverage that power to enhance their academic experience? BYOD can help students:
- collaborate (Google Drive, Prezi, Padlet, messaging apps)
- create multimedia projects (Animoto, Videolicious, Educreations, ChatterPix)
- stay organized (Evernote, Google Drive)
- test their learning (Socrative, SurveyMonkey, Quizlet)
The problem is that this idea - having students create the school programming without a highly structured curriculum already in place - doesn't fit into a public school where teachers and students are told they have to meet standards and follow frameworks. It also did not fit nicely into our schedule or our academic departments. It isn't really a business class and I'm a history teacher. Science? Nope. Health and Wellness? Nope. At first it was a tough sell.
Thanks to some supportive and forward-thinking allies, after several drafts this is the proposal that was accepted:
8-1-14 RMHS SHD Pilot Proposal.pdf
Rockets Help Desk started meeting the second day of school and, based on an early teacher request, the kids settled on their first tutorial topic: digital note keeping in Evernote.
|Click the screenshot to see the students' first public tutorial.|
I'm hoping to support the kids by publicizing their work via Twitter and through an in-house e-newsletter so that teachers and students at our school can benefit. As the year goes on I'm hoping to hand over more and more control of Rockets Help Desk to the kids. My early members, Julia and Megan, can become mentors for students we recruit in the future. Over time we can grow into a program that helps students and teachers communicate about how we can learn best together.