Students gain valuable real-world experience as IT volunteers
- Indian Prairie School District in suburban Chicago is among a handful of districts profiled by EdTech: Focus on K-12 for implementing a program that utilizes students as tech support aides.
- Indian Prairie Assistant Superintendent for Technology Services Stan Gorbatkin says the district is starting to view students as an instructional resource due to the app recommendations and assistance they provide one another, and the district is also using student volunteers to lead drop-in stations for its 1:1 device program in high schools when they transition from middle school.
- These districts, which include New York's Bethlehem Central School District, also implement student-led IT help desks where students spend 10 to 15 hours a week assisting with passwords, installing software and mastering app suites like Google for Education, cutting response times significantly in the process.
At at time when real-world educational experiences are in high demand, opportunities that allow students to gain actual work experience they can cite on a resume are critical. These are skills they can take to after-school and summer jobs, as well as campus employment opportunities if they go to college.
Additionally, building and utilizing student expertise can help schools and districts save on IT budgets at a time when overall budgets are strained due to cuts at the state and federal levels, leaving additional funds to be spent on more tools and resources to foster student success. There's a thin line to walk on that front, however, as the issue could potentially be raised regarding at what point student volunteers are doing an amount of work that would make them employees of the district.
- EdTech: Focus on K-12 Schools Tap Students to Provide Enough IT Help Desk Support
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