Does creating an in-house student led tech support team in an elementary building seem like a bit much? It’s not. You can do this.
One of many small bullet points on my job description reads as follows: Creates, trains, and manages Youth Empowered Support (Y.E.S.) Squad (student technology support) in collaboration with building’s Blended Learning Mentor(s)/ Principal for the purpose of empowering students to solve real world problems and support technology use in the building.
As far as what that truly entails, it is completely open to interpretation. When discussing what I envisioned regarding a YES Squad with my principal, she said I have virtually free reign to experiment, take risks, and train students to be our in-house tech support.
I posted the image below toward the beginning of the year, as I brainstormed my ideas for YES Squad with a few of my students:
So what is the YES Squad?
Sherwood Elementary’s YES (Youth Empowered Support) Squad is made up of third through fifth grade students who help solve technology problems throughout the building. These student leaders serve as the go-to people at each grade level to provide basic Chromebook troubleshooting for their peers.
In the Learning Commons, they help deliver repaired Chromebooks, write work orders, and check in and out loaner Chromebooks. These students also record and publish daily announcements within our building’s Canvas page and lead a weekly technology and Makerspace club.
Why have a YES Squad?
Student led technology support makes students partners in pedagogy. Students are given the opportunity to be technology leaders in and out of the building. This level of empowerment will continue to support student development even beyond their years in elementary school.
Programs such as these provide key future ready job skills employers are seeking, not only regarding the technology knowledge students gain, more importantly, the problem solving and collaborative skills required to support building’s needs. School culture benefits from the atmosphere of risk taking, trial and error, and perseverance required from students when working through basic technology challenges.
The experience students receive from being involved in YES Squad meets numerous ISTE student standards including the communication and collaboration, critical thinking, and technology operations and concepts strands.
Our YES Squad (students and I both) just presented a basic who we are, what we do session at RCET at Missouri State earlier this month, and in June we were invited back for an RCET summer symposium to dive further into what we do as a group. I feel as if I could write for pages and pages about YES Squad, and should do so in future posts to reflect on this group and how it has evolved during its first year and what I hope goes the same and differently next year.
Additional resources related to student-led tech support: