Digital Sandbox

This Blog is designed to provide the reader with information on how to adopt technology into the classroom by relooking at traditional classroom tools and transitioning into new ways of teaching and learning. The Digital Sandbox explores the future of learning through the recreation of 21st Century learning environments.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

IT Student Support Team Plays an Important Role in 1:1

Dodge City Middle School will go to a 1:1 initiative starting in January. This 1:1 initiative changes the way students receive assignments, access information, create material for their classes. To help us get off to a good start our school established a student help desk made up of 10 eighth grade students who provide IT support for both students and teachers. The help desk is staffed for every period to respond to online work order request and student walk-ins. 

Mike King the school principal organized the IT Student Support Team. The IT Student Support Team is trained every other Tuesday by technology consultants Mr. Tom Barnes and Mrs. Gina Tyler on how to address student iPad issues. The IT Student help desk is located in the library and is overseen by Mrs. Schaffer the school's library media specialist. Training started in September and occurs every other Tuesday starting at 7:30 A.M and runs through advisory.

Responsibilities for the IT Student Support Team will be to troubleshoot problems, answer questions and refer more complicated problems to the district's IT Department through teachers. Additionally the student support team will develop a website that mirrors instructional technology applications for both students and teachers. The website will serve as a resource for our school, and that is accessed by students, parents and teachers. Plans for the website includes, help desk work orders, online questions generated by students and teachers, instructional videos explaining different applications that blend well with digital learning. 

Assignments for the construction of the website are sent by out by g-mail/work order form and Mrs. Herndon the 8th Grade connect teacher makes the assignments. Students receive their assignments, save their work in draft form for approval before posting digital content to the website. Students selected for the IT Student Support Team are required to sign a student pledge that holds them to high behavioral ethics and academic standards.

To get teachers prepared to use the devices in class, the district has established an every other Tuesday training session through Southwest Plains Regional Service Center. This plan allows our teacher teams to experience first a instructional app and then use the technology that supports explicit instruction. The district distributed to teachers iPads one year prior to using them in the classroom accompanied by every other Tuesday one hour in-services. Additional in-services are offered after school for power users to learn how to create digital content through the use of iTunes U, and iBooks through iAuthor. Teachers also learn how to develop video productions and podcast using both garage band and iMovie. 

To protect the schools iPad investments our school requires parents to attend a Digital Parent Night to sign a "user agreement form, that states that students will abide by district policy while the iPads, are in their possession.