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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Digital Learning Resource: The Burlington High School Student Help Desk

The Burlington High School Student Help Desk is entering its second season, and I wanted to share our course outline, pathways and some of the opportunities we'll be creating for the school faculty and staff. Our Student Help Desk is available six out of seven periods a day and consists of students who have an interest in educational technology. The technology competencies vary for each class and set of students, so students have opportunities to pursue a variety of pathways in this course.

Today, February 1, is Digital Learning Day. Our Help Desk students will be presenting their work and their resources to a group of visiting teachers, administrators and students. Below you will find our course description, learning pathways and services for the faculty and staff.

Note: Because the following post was created for BHS websites, the signup links for Help Desk Tutorials are not available to Edutopia users.

Course Description

The Student Technology Integration course is a hands-on study of technology integration in an educational context. Students will be required to assess problem sets throughout the day and define the best approach to addressing or solving the problem. In addition to solving problems for their classmates and teachers, students will be required to complete and maintain several running projects that address problems or solutions in educational technology integration. The course also asks students to have a prior understanding of Apple OS, Microsoft Windows OS, and the iPad iOS.

Welcome to BHS Help Desk. This course will examine various problems and needs throughout Burlington High School. This semester, we will not be waiting around for problems to come to us, we will be finding and addressing them. This is not to say we won't encounter problems here in the Help Desk room, but we will be more aggressive in seeking out the problems and needs of our faculty and students.

This semester we will not only be helping, but creating, curating and organizing information and content for the faculty and students. This may come in the form of a blog that you manage for a department. It may be building an iBook resource companion for one of your teachers. It may be building a set of instructional videos and books for the school to use. In short, we will have plenty of work to do throughout the course of this semester. Whatever you heard about Help Desk during season one will not surface during season two. Help Desk has changed, and in order to maintain a good grade in this class, you will need to perform. This course will elicit and require skills that are relevant to most professions.

We have also added new features to the help desk this year so that we concentrate our talent in the right areas of need.

Help Desk Opportunities for Faculty and Staff

1) Help Desk Tutorials

During the second semester, teachers can schedule time during their free periods and come down to Help Desk for a one-on-one tutorial of your choice. This can be on a specific application that you want to learn more about or just an overview of the iPad or your computer. We will match you with a Help Desk student and you will have as much time as needed during that period. You can sign up here for Help Desk tutorials. This feature is also open to students. If you would like your class to learn how to use an application before starting a project, we can assist with this as well.

2) Share and Connect

(This opportunity is primarily for the teachers, but you may be asked to help with organizing and teaching this platform.) I want to start highlighting the amazing work you and your students have been doing over the past semester on our bpsedtech.org blog. If you have a lesson that you designed that you are proud of along with student work that came out of that project, please share a short write up of the lesson and links to any student work. Here is an example of what Ms. Boyle created with her Calculus students.

3) In Class Assistance

If you would like Help Desk students to assist with or set up equipment for a lesson you are conducting in class, you can sign up here for that time. This student will be scheduled to meet with you during your period for as long as you need him or her.

4) Help Desk on Twitter

If you are using Twitter, you can now access Help Desk by using the hashtag #bhshelpdesk. This will give us a method of responding to your issue immediately.

5) The BHS Resource Wiki

(This is primarily for the teachers, but you may be asked to help with organizing and teaching this platform.) I mentioned this wikispace at the beginning of the year and want to have departments take over the space and add resources to it as they populate. You can join the wikispace by following this link and I will approve you. Once approved, you can add a page or create one for sharing resources with your entire department throughout the year. Think of it as a digital communal file cabinet. Also, as we move towards creating more ePubs, this space will be good for gleaning resources when they are needed. If you have any questions about the wiki please contact me.

Help Desk Pathways

1) Bloggers

Bloggers will be responsible for authoring and maintaining a blog for departments, teachers and Help Desk. We will be creating a comprehensive student Help Desk blog that must be updated daily. Each day there should be new content populating on the site, therefore you will need to find and create information to post. This can come in the form of a weekly podcast, interviews, original posts, reaction posts to current events regarding technology, or short documentaries that you create on specific subjects. Regardless of the subject, this site should be flourishing with new content each day.

2) Genius Bar Trainers

The Genius Bar Trainers will be responsible for deconstructing daily problems with the technology at the school. This job will require an expertise in a variety of applications or the willingness to learn new applications. Also, this path of the course will require competency in Apple iLife and iWork programs (iPhoto, iMovie, Pages, Numbers, etc.). Participants will be giving one-on-one tutorials to teachers, staff and students. You may be required to enter a classroom and present an overview of an application before the teacher uses it with his or her class. When you are not training, you will be putting together tutorial videos, scripts and iBooks.

3) App Developer Course

The App Developer Course will be the most challenging section of the course, but potentially the most rewarding. Participants will be taking the Stanford University iPad and iPhone App Developer Course via their iPad and iTunes U. This course will be very challenging and time consuming. While you should already have an understanding of some programming, it is not required.

4) iBooks Authors

This pathway will help teachers, administration and staff with creating ePubs or iBooks. You should have an understanding of Apple Pages and the new iBooks Author application. The majority of the time you will be migrating content from either analog or digital form into these two applications. A lot of the time will be spent on formatting and adding images, video and audio clips to the publication. Also, if you are unfamiliar with these applications but possess a willingness to learn them, please sign up for this pathway.

5) Choose Your Own Adventure

You also have the opportunity to propose a pathway for second semester. In your proposal you must define your goals, objectives, resources needed, and the hurdles you may encounter along the way. I would also like you to detail the impact you expect your pathway to have on Burlington High School.

Tasks and Assignments

1) Help Desk Journal

Regardless of the course path you choose, you will document your productivity each day via a Google Doc journal. At the end of each class or each night, you will post your progress for the day. Note that I will view the timestamp for each daily post, so this is not something you should cram together Friday afternoon. Also, this is not simply busy work, but a running dialogue of your Help Desk progress. On occasion, I will not be in class and helping with a problem, so you must maintain productivity and transparency.

Each post should include what you accomplished for the day, who you helped or what you learned. Depending on which path you take and what you accomplish for the day, your post may come in the form of a link, video or brief blurb. It could also come in the form of a problem you are having and your attempt to reconcile that problem. Also, there may be a point in the course where you feel that you have to do some work or study quickly for a test. This is fine on occasion, but do not turn Help Desk into a study hall. If you abuse this opportunity, your grade will suffer.

2) Help Desk Meetings

We will conduct Monday and Friday meetings to check in on how things are going. Most of the time you will be working independently throughout this course, so this will be our opportunity to check in with each other and address any questions.

If you offer this type of class at your school, or are considering it, we would love to connect with you at Burlington.




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