Below you will find a guest blog post written by four members of the newly formed Tech-Detectives at Black River Middle School. We are very proud of their efforts and feel their story should be told........
“SAVING PEOPLE FROM FRUSTRATING DAYS SINCE 2013”
By: Andrew, Anthony, Jeremy, and Peter
As the time goes by and new technology comes out, it confuses many teachers and makes them want to throw their elmo and other smart devices on the cold, hard ground. So, that’s where we come in ; the Black River Tech Detective’s... any problem you have, we’ll be here to help. From little things like installing Chrome on computers or bigger things like preparing computer carts for various events, we are at your service. Even little things help the teachers out so much, because that can be the difference between a productive day or a ripping-your-hair-out day. If your students can’t print off their computer or you can’t incorporate technology in your lesson, that’s usually where teachers give up, and right at that breach we come in. Just ask any teacher and they will tell you, “ You are a lifesaver in Technology .”
In truth, it is no longer the 19th century. Today in 2013 there are many new forms of technology that are used around the school. Mrs. Garrison, the technology teacher at Black River Middle School and her students decided that technology class was just not enough to benefit our schools technology needs. Furthermore, many students enjoy working with technology. With that being said, combining students that enjoy working with technology, and teachers who need to know a bit more about technology, Tech- Detectives are the newest … “TECH” invention.
As Tech D-Techtives, our job is to troubleshoot the school's technology issues or to fix a certain problem that a teacher may be having with his or her's technology that they have in their classrooms. In addition, we are available to teach a lesson about a technology device to a staff member that maybe just got a new iPad or Kindle Fire and wants to know how to use it. Some of the troubleshooting we do involves fixing laptops and laptop carts that are not functioning properly. Also, we work with Smart Boards and Elmos that the teachers may be having a problem with like the markers not working. With Elmos, we will hook Elmos up to Smart Boards so teachers can use their Elmos without having to project the information onto a white board because their information will go right onto the Smart Board. We have certain students who may own or know very much about certain device. We can send them to a teacher to teach them about this device. Since Tech D-Techtives started in January, there has been an all positive outcome and the school's technology has been functioning much better than it was for the most part. If Tech D-Techtives began in your school, you would be shocked to see how much some students know about technology and how much smoother your technology would be running.
This past year, the impact of the BRMS Tech-DETectives Tech Club has been astounding. Between the troubleshooting on Friday afternoons with one on one teacher to student conferences to editing the school tech website, the feedback from the teachers and faculty has been positive and grateful. Having a technology club helps teachers because they can actually utilise technology in their classrooms instead of wasting time getting frustrated when things aren't working. (which happens very often!) Teachers at BRMS no longer sigh or get frustrated when they want to do a lesson on the smartboard and things alike that. They just call the tech club, and everything is fine! BRMS, thanks to the tech club, all in all, is a very tech savvy place!
Recently I published a blog post titled Ten Ways to Promote Your School which highlighted the various ways schools can boast about all the wonderful learning experiences that happen on a daily basis. Social media tools, such as Twitter and Facebook, enable schools to tell their story the way it should be told. From a personal perspective, it is exciting to be able to walk around the school building and share with stakeholders the great things our students and teachers are involved with each day. Feel free to visit our school Twitter or Facebook feed to get an idea of what exactly I am talking about. The ability to steer positive and timely information to school stakeholders is crucial in order for trust and support to thrive.
The ability to promote and inform through social media and other web 2.0 tools contributes to a well informed and appreciative school community. Parents will often comment to me how they are now able to have relevant conversations with their children based on what was tweeted out or posted on Facebook that given day. Board members who were already impressed with what was going on in our school become even more elated to find out that so much more is happening. For example, in addition to the blasts we send out on our social media feeds, we also create a monthly newsletter using Google Drive. This idea was modeled after a newsletter Eric Sheninger sends out on a monthly basis for New Milford High School. This digital archive becomes the story of our school and assures stakeholders that we have and always will be moving forward in a relevant and innovative direction.
Ask yourself these questions: What will our school's story be? Will we let others tell it for us? If so, what will be the message? Should I leave it up to chance for someone to miscommunicate the story? What available tools can I use to easily share out the great learning experiences that take place in our school? Do stakeholders fully understand what is going on in our schools? If you are second guessing yourself on some of these questions, it might be a good idea to evaluate the ways in which your school's message is being understood by the greater school community. As the school year winds down and you prepare for what lies ahead, seriously consider the world we live in and the vital role emerging technologies can have on how your story is communicated.