New Year, New Start

I always love the beginning of the school year.

flickr photo by big t 2000 (Tony Heussner) https://flickr.com/photos/big_t_2000/8330140003 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

#freshstarts

It’s awesome to work in a job that has the sense of new beginnings each year.

Because this allows each of us to recalibrate our ideas and adjust for the new year.

This provides such hope and passion in trying again.

With that being said, I’m getting my 6th year underway at the American School of Milan.

How it is, in fact, actually my 6th year is beyond me.

#timeflies

This year I’m taking a more relaxed approach with my coaching of teachers. I used to set goals with everyone, write them down and write out a set of actions to accomplish those goals.

Instead, this year, I simply put an open invitation out to everyone to invite me into their classrooms, even when there is no technology involved.

flickr photo by alnicol2000 https://flickr.com/photos/27870539@N07/8539454604 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

I’m thinking that just being there will allow me to generate ideas that might naturally fit within the classroom and hopefully allow a more natural transformation to take place.

So, we shall see. I’m satisfied with what’s happening early on and hope that it continues moving forward. Most teachers responded to my email and I’ve been in and out of classrooms over the past week. Others need just a little more nudging and I’ll continue to encourage them foward.

The Student Tech Team is also something I’m taking on as part of my role. Last year we had the skeleton of a team, but used them primarily as presenters for our Learning2 conference. The results of that, however, were not great and basically we had a lot of chaos with a big ol’ group of teenagers, which is never pretty.

One of our Student Tech Team members during the Little Bits workshop

One of our Student Tech Team members during the Little Bits workshop

This year, there is an official application process, a quick interview and a selection of team members. We’re trying to keep our team small in an effort to help organize them and our plan for the year. I’m hoping to set the standard that being part of the tech team is kinda like having a job, with responsibilities, work that needs done and expectations to be met.

I did a fair amount of research on this topic and discovered that many schools have the tech team as an official course in their curriculum. I was really surprised by this as it requires having a teacher available to supervise each set of students in the different periods. Our school, quite simply, doesn’t have the staff for that at the moment. So we’re making the best of our situation and moving forward with a small and manageable plan for the year.

Students will be asked to submit a website/app review, podcast or tech tutorial of some kind each month. I’m planning on once monthly group meeting/training sessions, quick individual check-ins to review the work they’re doing, and optional monthly sessions of fun stuff, like learning more about the workings of computers or discovering more about 3D printing, gaming and coding. They will also work a shift or two in the Help Desk, so that they can learn the ins and outs of computer repair and customer service.

I hope this sets us up to start the year out right and find success with an awesome group of excited kids!

Do you run a successful student tech team? What are your best tips? Other suggestions we might consider?

 

 

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