|Tech students using virtual classroom at West Washington|
By Monika Spaulding
Kelly Williams is taking technology in the classroom to a whole new level at West Washington High School. Moving from the traditional idea of class work, Williams’ students are using Google Classroom, where she is able to post announcements and duties for each student online.
“They are also able to communicate with each other here to keep everyone up to speed on where projects are,” she said. “We also utilize a group email system to stay in contact throughout the day.”
So what exactly are these “duties” the students have? Williams said she currently has eight students, ranging from freshmen to juniors, who are assigned to her during different periods of the day.
“First and foremost, they act as a helpdesk for teachers and students,” said Williams, who is the eLearning Specialist for the school. She gave some examples of the students’ responsibilities, like checking in and out the loaner Chromebooks. The technology students change passwords or look up login information. They also troubleshoot issues that arise and have been helping sophomores, who just recently received new devices, get acquainted with their electronics, showing them how to connect to the internet outside of the building.
“They also demonstrate how to work offline for students who don’t have wireless access,” said Williams. “They are helping teachers expand their knowledge of Gmail, which we just switched over to after Thanksgiving break.”
In addition, the tech students are helping teachers, who have now become one-on-one teachers with the sophomores, get their Google classrooms set up and going.
“They also set up printers and Chromecast devices, essentially anything that needs to be done,” she said.
Beyond the day-to-day, three of the students have developed their own Web site development company and are currently working on developing a site for the tech department that will expand to revamping the school’s Web site and include building an app for the school.
“I am super excited about that!” said Williams.
Three other students are taking the lead on the repairs.
“We have about five devices that need minor repairs from sticking keys to cracked screens,” she said. “The goal is to get them certified to work on devices, which is a great resume builder and skill set that will help them in life.”
Williams said one student is also a football and basketball manager for the school.
“His project is to load all of our sporting events into a Google calendar that will be downloadable by sport to install on iphones or android phones,” she said, adding that he is also interested in photography and will be the school’s photographer documenting all the happenings of West Washington.
Another student is working on cataloging all the school’s devices into a checkout library system.
“This is a project that will help us tremendously when we pick up the devices for the summer and roll them out in the fall,” said Williams.
Future plans include having a dedicated help desk phone line and an online forum where community members and businesses could call in for tech advice.
“We plan to reach out to members of the community and businesses to help with their technology needs, from training on new programs to building websites,” said Williams. She said she has even spoken to someone at the YMCA about students doing some volunteer work there regarding technology this school year.
“We will also maintain an after-hours help desk for our teachers and students.”
Williams said the group will maintain and blog, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to help tell the story of what they are doing.
“We are registered at the state level with the Hoosier Digital Leadership group and hope to compete next year with a project at the state level,” said Williams. “We will attend the student technology conference held in Indianapolis this April.”
She said the group has room to grow and she is excited about this new adventure.
“I went from having one student last semester to eight this semester, so we now have the opportunity to really expand our capabilities,” she said. “The goal really is to give these students an opportunity to grow and develop their interests.”
Williams said the plan now is to take this group of students as far as they can. She said the program is very student-centered and she hopes it’s only the beginning of expanding opportunities for WWHS students.
“At this point, I see no limits!” she said. “They are very eager and willing to work. One student told me he would really like to learn programming. I can’t teach that, but I told him to research online options and if he finds something he thinks can help, by all means I will give him the time to explore it!”
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 January 2015 14:21|