Technology in the Hands of the Powerful

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The Student Has Become the Teacher: Technology in the Hands of the Powerful. This was the title for my TEDxABQ Education talk on empowering teachers to champion the idea of creating student-led technology teams at their schools. Our students are our greatest resource.  Their help, ideas, and vision can help create lasting change within the walls of our schools…all we have to do is empower them with the tools to help lead the change alongside the educators in our schools. The theme of the TEDxABQ Event was all about Equity in Education…I can’t think of a better way to provide equity than by giving students a front row seat at the table!

Click here to watch my TED Talk! I was so blessed to bring along 7 of my fabulous students to speak about how being on our SWAT Team has impacted them! These students inspire me and are a sweet reminder of all things that are good in education! This experience was one that I know these kiddos will never forget and I am so lucky to be one of their teachers.

My tech team is called the SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology). This group truly became my teammates as we worked together to create published work, inspire teachers, lead others towards learning how to integrate technology into their classrooms, reach out to the community, and create change within our school and district.

I’ve previously written about how I choose the members of my SWAT Team, the application process, and the general goals of the group. Click here to view this post.

Hopefully, the TED Talk and the ideas presented by my students inspire you to begin thinking about how you can involve your students in changing the technology integration climate at your school!

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Creating a Student Technology Team at Your School

SWAT Team

SWAT Team 2014

2013-2014 SWAT Team at North Star Elementary

A student technology team is a great way to create a student-led culture and promotes:

  • Student leaders at school
  • School & community outreach and engagement
  • Teamwork
  • Coaching & mentoring
  • Coding Skills
  • Flexible learning environments
  • Compelling evidence of success
  • Public Speaking
  • Confidence
  • Content creation
  • Customer service
  • Student voice

 

SWAT Team 2014

I am getting ready to begin my new SWAT Team (Students Working to Advance Technology) for this new school year. It’s become such an important part of our student culture at my school. I have it open to 4th and 5th graders and they must submit an application and a resume to be considered for the team. In previous years, I have had 20 students on the team. Some of the things we’ve done in the past consist of the following: App reviews and ratings ( identification of how the app is related to instructional goals and content creation), Student Genius Bar (engagement with community and other teachers to get tech support from the students on the team), creation of Tips and Tricks Video Tutorials, tech training for teachers, community service (cleaning iPhones for parents and teachers at school), and an evening event to teach teachers and school leaders how to use iPad apps in the classroom (App Speed Dating).

I think the first step in getting a team going at your school is generating buzz about what students will accomplish by being on the team. Having a name for the team also helps get excitement brewing. Some other school tech teams call their teams Genius Squad, Techsperts, and iWizards to name a few. Next, it’s important to create a competitive application process to ensure you have students that are motivated to work towards accomplishing the goals for the team. I have students complete an application as well as a short resume. Not only does this take time to thoughtfully craft answers, but it allows students to learn how to create a simple resume. Later, I seek input from the home room teacher and carefully review the applications and resumes. Then, the fun begins! The activities you complete with your team will vary depending on the needs of your school.

Click here to download the application and sample resume that I used for recruiting my team.

Click here to view an older post about my SWAT Team’s big Speed Sharing Event.

Click here to see how we conducted our App Reviews

Click here to see our App Speed Share Event website

Best of luck to all your future tech leaders!

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