Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Class Full of Geniuses at Blue Ribbon

Recently, Rockets Help Desk presented at the Blue Ribbon Spring Institute that was held at our school, Reading Memorial High School. We presented with Andrew Marcinek and our teacher, Kerry Gallagher. The session was titled A Class Full of Geniuses, inspired by Marcinek's recent article in THE Journal. Together, the four of us hosted an engaging session on student driven classroom settings focusing on the philosophies of independent learning. Included, were the topics of tech integration, how we grew our program over the 2014-2015 school year, and examples of the work we have done over the past several months.

Above: Andrew Marcinek talks about the student 
help desk paradigm.
Below: Julia and I show some of our tutorials created 
through screencasting or filming with our Swivl.

The Inspiration

Once the audience was settled we had them join our TodaysMeet backchannel, where they made commentary during the presentation. Our presentation was divided in half, Andrew Marcinek presented in the beginning, with the RHD team following in suit. Marcinek focused on his initiative while at Burlington High School. To make a long story short, the administration of Burlington High School wanted a student tech team to support their technology staff during their 1:1 iPad roll-out. The tech team that was formed at Burlington High School was created similar to how an Apple Genius Bar runs, its a place with a team of people that help with iPad difficulties.

Andrew Marcinek has been a great help to us while developing our program, and we have consulted him several times. Our presentation with him at the Blue Ribbon Institute was the first time we met with him in person.

Making it Happen at Our School

During our half of the presentation, we discussed how we built our program. We got our start when Ms. Gallagher and a few students proposed the Rockets Help Desk pilot to administration last spring. Then she contacted more students over the summer to recruit volunteers.  Once the school year began, we were immediately busy!

  • Produced our first tutorials
  • Introduced our program to the RMHS faculty

  • Produced 6 tutorials
  • Presented at MassCue Fall Conference
  • Presented at Expanding the Boundaries of Teaching and Learning, an in-district cohort of teachers
  • Began networking with other student techs; using demo slams and Google Hangouts
  • Visited Barrows Elementary School to assist 5th graders in using Google Drive

  • Produced 4 tutorials
  • First Google Hangout on Air with Reshan Richards: Creator of Explain Everything

  • Produced 2 tutorials
  • Google Hangout on Air with Andrew Marcinek
  • Utilized Swivl Camera for QR Codes tutorial
  • Presented via Google Hangout at the Blue Ribbon 2014 Nation Conference in Disney World
  • Proposed Rockets Help Desk elective to RMHS Principle Adam Bakr

  • Produced 2 tutorials

  • Produced 1 tutorial
  • Presented elective proposal to the School Committee
  • Tech Integration Profile of the PLTW Engineering class
  • Rockets Help Desk approved as a Business Technology Elective
  • Recruited students for the Rockets Help Desk 2015-2016 elective
  • Field Trip to NaviSite

  • Produced 2 tutorials
  • In Person Consultation with Ms. Bedingfield, math teacher
  • Google Hangout with Catherine Carr, CIO for Haiku Deck


Looking Forward

After we presented the timeline of our pilot this year, we talked about our plans of expansion for our program; both within the school and beyond. This was followed by a brief Q&A, in which the audience compared our program model to Mr. Marcinek’s experiences. A discussion was also started about adjusting more classroom models to the independent, student driven paradigm.

There was also a great response on Twitter:

No comments:

Post a Comment