With new technologies continually being introduced in schools, primary education has started to look very different from the paper textbooks, and chalkboards parents may remember. Luckily, some schools are creating programs where students take the reins and support information technology (IT) required for these new technologies. The win-win: the school keeps up with tech demands and students learning useful and marketable skills.
One such school
Drawing on his experience helming similar programs at other Irvine and Los Angeles schools, Simsovic knew such a program could help students looking for ways to connect with peers. “Many of my students wanted to provide a service and share their knowledge,” Simsovic says. “By helping others, the students made a [deeper] connection to the school.”
Northwood’s Tech Staff program provides much-needed support for the rapidly increasing presence of technology in the school. “In the beginning, there was no IT for Irvine Unified School District (IUSD),” Simsovic says. In those early years, Simsovic trained his Tech Staff students in imaging, network and computer setup, plus maintenance. Also part of the curriculum: instilling guiding principles for IT success. “‘Trial and Error and Error’ is our motto; eventually, we find a solution.”
Over time, IUSD established an IT department that now shares some of the workload previously carried by the Tech Staff. This has allowed the student team to expand its operations. As Simsovic explains, “We use Surface Pros at our school, so our students have to be able to fix communication issues with the device, projectors, displays, docking, and any other problems that might arise.”
While rapid changes in technology and equipment can make it challenging to keep up, Northwood’s Tech Staff are up to the challenge. Simsovic says, “Many of our students teach us about new tech we may not be aware of.”
In addition, getting more involved in their school, the Tech Staff program has equipped its students to achieve
“Tech Staff students already have a passion for technology when they join the team,” Simsovic says. “Over the years, they’ve made our school a better place for students and teachers.”
With any luck, programs like Northwood’s Tech Staff will become prevalent throughout the country, giving young students everywhere an opportunity to enrich their schools, communities and their futures.
This High School’s Tech Support: Students — Sources
Alan Simsovic, librarian, Northwood High School
Northwood High School, Irvine, California (IUSD)