Episode from the podcastOpen to Learn

Using Student Support to Help with 1:1 Initiatives

Released Wednesday, 28th August 2019
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Blog Post— 5 Min Runtime

Using Student Support to Help with 1:1 Initiatives

As a former Director of Technology in a 1:1 school, one of my central concerns centered on keeping devices functional and lasting. With some 11,000 Chromebook spread over numerous campuses, how would I provide support to the occasional breaks, wear and tear, and general grime? My tech team was small. And my financial resources were dedicated to devices.

The solution? Students.

Student Support Desk to the Rescue

Borrowing ideas from several friendly school districts (a big shoutout to Loveland Schools), we worked to create a system where students were the primary help in supporting the tech that, in turn, supported their instruction!

A win-win.

While refined over the years, the process worked incredibly well in keeping our district costs manageable while ensuring Chromebooks lasted throughout the years.

The Set-Up

Supplies were key. This included:

  1. Microfiber cloths

  2. Rubbing alcohol

  3. Toolsets (screwdrivers, tweezers, etc.)

  4. Compressed Air

Also included was a small stock of Chromebook components. The most common elements to break. This usually meant:

  1. Computer screens

  2. Keyboards

  3. Trackpads

We also a generous amount of already broken Chromebooks we cannibalized for parts.

Students & Training

Our district had students as young as 3rd grade and as old as 12th grade. For some, the support desk was an elective. For others, it was a before or after school club.

In all cases, students trained on how to clean and maintain Chromebooks, repair broken Chromebooks, and track Chromebooks through an inventory system.

Throughout the year, students also worked through a course that covered subjects such as customer support, GSuite 101, and a portfolio project.


The Logistics

When a Chromebook broke, it came into our ticketing system. Students would grab the Chromebook, perform a fix, and replace it in the cart.

Additionally, students would complete a thorough cleaning of each classroom’s Chromebooks every 2 weeks. This kept Chromebooks running longer and provided them with an opportunity to see if any devices were malfunctioning.

How Did I Work?

Extremely well! Breakage rates were minimal, and the student support crew was able to cover nearly all issues that arose in a given year. From a district’s perspective, students learned a useful skillset and supported their learning.

Final Thoughts

This is a bit of a simplification of the process. I was fortunate to have a very talented team refine procedures, take ownership, provide vast amounts of support to students. Their help was critical to the success of implementing a 1:1 program in the district.

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