In a recent post, I asked the question “Can a Student Technology Team Help Build Teacher Self-Efficacy in Technology Use in the Classroom?”. Not surprisingly, I am not the only one asking that question.
Education is a complex social system with many stakeholders. Therefore, for effective technology integration, we should consider all these stakeholders, including students (Su, 2009). In fact, Martinez (2009) points out that the only resource in abundance in schools is students.
In Indiana, we have the Hoosier Student Digital Leaders (HSDL), part of the Office of eLearning and the Indiana Department of Education, that provides resources to schools and districts that are “supporting digital citizenship in their school in the form of student technology teams.”
In the HSDL Google+ Community, there are 101 schools listed across Indiana that have self-identified as having some sort of student technology team. The community serves as a good way for group leaders to collaborate and share with other group leaders. The HSDL also hosts a student-led conference each year for students to gain presenting skills as well as share new ideas to the community.
GenYES is another organization that finds student technology teams an effective model of professional development for technology integration. With the goal of developing students as leaders in technology knowledge and integration, GenYES has a modeled a successful program by training students to be mentors for teachers (Martinez, 2009). Their website states it very succinctly: “We believe that teams of well-prepared K-12 students are the key strategy for realizing meaningful technology integration.” (Generation YES, 2016).
Examples of GenYES projects include having the GenYES student come into the classroom and help younger students create and edit movies or having a student create a website template for a teacher to use with students (Martinez, 2009).
But, does this help?
GenYes found, of the GenYES participants, 99% agreed that it was a good method to support teachers and 3 in 5 teachers stated that GenYES made integrating technology “more comfortable”. (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2010). In another study, Zhao, et al. (2006) found that the GenYES program produced several factors that enhance technology integration. They are: time to experiment, a focus on student learning, the building of social connections and learning communities, and localizing or personalizing professional development. Hew and Brush (2007) also found these elements as helpful for overcoming technology integration barriers.
Schools are also using these technology teams as cost-effective technology repair services (Martinez, 2009). The perceived lack of technical support by teachers is a major barrier to technology integration (Gilakjani, 2013). These technology teams can alleviate the frustration caused by lack of technical support.
I believe that well-managed student technology teams are a win-win for both staff and students. Staff gain inexpensive technical support and training while students grow in their leadership skills (Wan et al., 2010). Therefore, maybe a better question is, “What elements of a Student Technology Team successfully build self-efficacy in teachers?” The results of that could help mentor/leaders more effectively build their student technology team. What do you think those elements would be?
Generation YES. (2016). Genyes.org. Retrieved from http://genyes.org
Gilakjani, A. (2013). Factors contributing to teachers’ use of computer technology in the classroom. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(3), 262-267.
Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: Current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(3), 223-252.
Martinez, S. (2009) Student-Centered Support Systems to Sustain Constructivist, Technology-rich Learning Environments. IFIP WCCE 2009. Retrieved from http://www.ifip.org/wcce2009/proceedings/papers/WCCE2009_pap84.pdf
Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (2010). GenYES 2009–2010 national evaluation data. Retrieved from http:// genyes.com/media/2007custeval/National _NWREL__2006-07.pdf
Su, B. (2009). Effective technology integration: Old topic, new thoughts. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 5(2), 161-171.
Wan, T. Y., Ward, S. E., & Harper, D. (2010). The Power of Student Learning Through Leading. Principal Leadership, 10(6), 68-71.
Zhao, Y., Frank, K. A., & Ellefson, N. C. (2006). Fostering meaningful teaching and learning with technology: Characteristics of effective professional development. Meaningful learning using technology: What educators need to know and do, 161-179.
More resources from GenYES can be found here.