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Using Students to Help with Tech Support

Posted on 10/24/2018

Help key on a keyboard

As schools incorporate more technology into classrooms and offices, they find that the need for tech support grows as more devices are added, sometimes straining an already overtaxed IT staff. Some schools, though, have looked inward for help to fill the gaps, namely at their student body as a potential solution.

The concept of using students to provide tech support is not a new idea, especially in the K-12 universe. Generation YES is a non-profit organization that has been coaching schools on how to develop students into technology resources and leaders for many years, ever since its beginning as a grant-funded program in the US Department of Education in the late 1990s. GenYES has been active all across the US in the years since its start and has inspired countless schools to develop student-run tech support that helps fellows students, teachers, administrators, and other school staff and partners solve a wide variety of technology-related issues.

Tech support teams look to real-life solutions in the tech world for ideas on how to deliver their services. Burlington High School in Burlington, MA created a tech support center modeled after Apple’s Genius Bar. They provide 1:1 support that is a hallmark of the Genius Bar, but they also consult with teachers on technology purchases, present at conferences, and connect with other users via social media.

Involving students in the life of the school is a great way to help students develop hard and soft skills that we teach in our classes, especially our computer classes and short-term certificate programs. It also addresses tech support issues that arise on a daily basis and potentially accelerates technology integration with many hands making light work. The following articles have more information about programs that involve students in technology efforts at schools: