Students and staff at Robert E. Lee High School have a new team to call up when in need of technical support. The Lee SWAT team, or Students Who Advocate Technology, is made of nine seniors who provide minor hardware and software support when their teachers and classmates are in a pinch.
Principal of Health Sciences teacher, Debbie Germany, first called on the SWAT team when her class set of iPads began acting up during a test review. She noticed that as the students began logging into their web-based review app, several were showing as the same name or names of students in her previous class period.
“I called into our campus technical support department and they then sent down two students from the Lee SWAT team,” Ms. Germany said. “The two girls ran through several troubleshooting steps they had learned before ultimately figuring out the problem. Once they were able to clear off all the login histories of the iPads we were using, the issue resolved itself. Now I know I can call the Lee SWAT Team whenever I need help, which may be often. After all, I am a Health Sciences teacher, not a technology teacher,” Ms. Germany said with a smile.
The Lee curriculum and instruction team first witnessed the success of a student-led technology support team while at a professional development conference in the fall. Instructional Technology Specialist Hunter McConnell said his team knew immediately that this was something they wanted to integrate into Tyler ISD campuses.
Mainly performing functions such as adding or replacing software programs, RAM memory or hardware items, the team will spend an hour each day researching and preparing for various tasks they may be called upon to perform.
“I first heard about the SWAT team opportunity last semester and was interested in joining because it is always good to have technical knowledge,” Lee senior Taylor Rapp said. “We are mainly training right now but we have helped a few teachers and students already with minor functions.”
Several steps had to be put into place and selection criteria developed for the student team members. Students must be in good academic and behavior standing and have a free period that can be dedicated to technology training and completing service calls. In return, students on the team receive internship credit.
“The Lee SWAT Team is more like a pilot program, but we eventually hope to begin these teams at other Tyler ISD campuses as well,” McConnell said.