Over the course of this school year, the Fox Hill Help Desk students have demonstrated their technology skills and knowledge through creating various screencast tutorials on elementary core apps including Book Creator and Explain Everything. Having their work published to YouTube for a global audience has been incredibly exciting and motivating for our young student geniuses. Recently however, fourth grade Help Desk students had the opportunity to prove just how tech-savvy they really are when they worked one on one and face to face with their first grade peers. Last week, first grade teacher Mrs. Sawyer approached me asking if I could assist her students with logging into Google Drive and using Google Docs to type poems they had written. Rather than tackle this alone, I decided to invite my enthusiastic Help Desk students join me in Mrs. Sawyer’s classroom. Not surprisingly, they all agreed to come with me and help. When we showed up, Mrs. Sawyer was happy to have the Help Desk students team up with a first grade “tech buddy.” The best part was that there was a 1:1 student to student ratio. This allowed every student to receive individual coaching (from a fourth grader) on how to log into Drive and type a Google Doc.
As the adult facilitator, I simply assisted with entering the Drive passwords and left the hard part up to the fourth graders. Help Desk students taught first graders how to open the Google Docs app and how to format their documents. First graders learned how to change the text color, style, and size, how to use bold, underline, and italics, and how to change paragraph alignment. The Help Desk students demonstrated their expertise and conducted themselves in a mature, productive, and extremely enthusiastic manner. Thanks to how efficiently they worked, almost all the first graders finished typing and formatting their poems before heading out to recess. While it was beneficial for the first graders to learn how to use the Google Drive and Docs apps, the Help Desk students learned just as much, if not more. Having the chance to serve as teachers allowed Help Desk students to demonstrate their communication, leadership, and decision making skills. These are some of the same skills students at the high school Help Desk have the opportunity to develop through their work (not to mention they are some of the top skills employers look for in employees in most industries). It’s evident that Fox Hill Help Desk students are getting a jump start on their future as both classroom and community leaders. Their learning experiences boost their self-esteem and by actually teaching their peers, they are developing an ability to understand and adapt to multiple perspectives and situations.
I hope Help Desk students will have more opportunities to be “teachers for a day” and will continue to establish themselves as student geniuses at Fox Hill School! Here in Burlington, we have always believed that student should do more than just collaborate and learn with each other. We believe that students should be empowered to become the teachers and learn from each other. This has been happening at the high school level since 2011 and it’s exciting to see our elementary students following in their older peers’ footsteps!