Uncategorized November 26, 2014

Savvy Students Organize Tech Team at Santa Rita

Written by Traci Newell, LATC Staff Writer

A group of technologically literate students banded together at Santa Rita School this year to help teachers and students troubleshoot computer problems.

At the beginning of the school year, three sixth-graders approached the school’s technology specialist, Diane Hutchinson, with the idea of forming a group to help resolve technological problems at school – and the Tech Team was born.

The Tech Team, which comprises 12 sixth-graders and a handful of fifth-grade apprentices, meets every day before school to discuss technological challenges the school is facing and develop ways to resolve them.

Members of the Tech Team recently attended the Los Altos School District Board of Trustees meeting to explain their purpose.

“Students these days sometimes know more about technology than teachers,” a student stated during the presentation. “By having the Tech Team do most of the work, it helps create a better society. We teach teachers and students more about what they can do to make something work better on the computer.”

During recess and lunch, the Tech Team helps students and teachers solve any problems they might have. Each member of the team also assists teachers in his or her classroom.

“Instead of having Mrs. Hutchinson do all the work with the tech stuff, we visit all the classrooms and help with the computer work,” said James Conry, Tech Team co-founder.

Conry added that the group recently cleaned the school’s computers and monitors and helped change cartridges in the school’s many printers.

“Most of us joined the Tech Team because we want to – and strive to – learn more about the system that will help us when we grow up,” said a Tech Team member during the board presentation.

During lunch, Tech Team students help run the Lunch Lab, where students can finish class projects or play educational computer games such as Minecraft.

Gabriel Arrouye, Tech Team co-founder, spends his lunchtime manning the Minecraft server and assists the student players, ensuring that they are following the Tech Team-drafted rules for the Lunch Lab.

Arrouye said that in addition to the standard technology upkeep the group provides, Tech Team members assist in finding solutions that help teachers use technology more efficiently. He described helping one teacher link accounts across devices so that students could watch a video simultaneously.

Tech Team co-founder Kirsten Peterson assists with monitoring the Lunch Lab. She welcomes students as they enter and confirms that those checking in have not visited the lab more than once that week.

Kirsten also consults with students playing Minecraft and advises them to pursue more challenging strategies as they progress in the game.

“I really like technology, and I just wanted to help people because I like to do that,” she said. “Some of the time, I don’t know how to fix things, then other Tech Team members show me how to do it and I learn from my mistakes.”

Kirsten added that she likes to work with other students who have similar interests.