Students who earn tech repair certifications strengthen their resumes and can also help lighten districts’ IT department loads, CDW-G education strategist Jennifer Brown writes for EdTech: Focus on K-12.
Tech-savvy students can serve as IT support to assist with easier fixes like lost passwords, software installation and site navigation. During downtime, these students can work on other tech interests like programming, video production and game design, and some districts also hold hackathons that challenge students to think like hackers and seek weaknesses in district systems.
Dell, Microsoft, Acer and Google are among companies offering programs that certify students to repair devices and manage tech platforms.
Allowing Gen Z students who have grown up on technology to put their skills to use and gain practical knowledge not only gives them a boost of confidence, but it further develops employable skills.
Queens Technical High School in Long Island, New York, has an after-school, in-house tech “support group” to fix devices, assist in IT installation and troubleshoot other issues. The group works on SMART boards, printers, networking printers/PCs and other devices.
In a similar setup, Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts recruited a team of students to troubleshoot and solve tech problems through a help desk when it launched its 1:1 tablet program. The help desk is similar to Apple’s Genius Bar and is available to students, teachers, staff and administrators. The students who work at the help desk can use their hours for credit toward an individual learning endeavor.
Schools’ young techies can even go beyond the basic fix-its to help teachers create school projects on tech devices. Laura Busch, a technology integrator at an elementary school in Wisconsin, explains in EdSurge how 4th- and 5th-grade students at her school help teachers develop projects on iPads. The tech-savvy students work on various committees and also serve as role models for younger students.
When developing student-tech programs, there are many variables to consider. Districts must determine how students will be rewarded or credited and their performance assessed.