Introducing the Tech Squad!
After debating and brainstorming ideas on how to get third through fifth grade students more involved with technology, I finally landed on the idea of forming a small group of students and creating a Tech Squad. You see, my building is 1:1 (one device per student), and when substitutes enter our classrooms, they do not always know how to run an iPad, Chromebook, or MacBook, and this leaves the classroom teacher in a bind as their lessons most likely involved this technology. I wanted to put together a group of student leaders that had training in usage and minor technical support a substitute would need in order to allow the class to run as if the classroom teacher was still there. Shortly after the Tech Squad idea came to be, I attended a Game Based Learning workshop. During this workshop we were introduced to the BHS Tech PD format, a professional development program created to support teachers with the district's technology initiative. Within the program teachers completed specific tasks and earned points. As points were accumulated, teachers moved up levels, got new titles, and receive prizes. Using Bettendorf's template, I decided to take this idea and translate into student friendly terms.
My tech squad site has nine levels, each of which focus on a specific technology tool. As students progress they get new titles and prizes, with the ultimate goal of being the Grand Poobah of Technology! Depending on their schedule, students attend one or two sessions each week, where they have time to work on their missions, get teacher training, and collaborate with other squad members.
The response from students, parents, teachers, and administration has been extremely positive, and I look forward to seeing the impact students have this year! The tech squad website will be adapted during the year based on squad member needs and new technology tools that are discovered.
Additional Game Based Learning Resources.