LHS Participates in Panel Discussion by Dana Landry

     On November 7th the LHS Help Desk was invited to participate in  the MASC/MASS Student Help Desk Discussion Panel.  This panel was part of the student perspective day of the  MASC/MASS Joint Conference. Mrs. Alpert, Mrs. Judkins, Mrs. Dario, and I participated in the panel discussion.  We were joined by teacher and student representatives from two other schools, Mashpee and Hamilton-Wenham. Each of the school’s representatives explained how their help desks are run and collaborated to present this slideshow.

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At LHS, our student help desk is an elective where students attend during their study blocks. We currently work out of both the Help Desk office, located next to the circulation desk in the library, or in the Makerspace which is in the Library Classroom.

During our help desk period we independently work on our own projects. Usually this is a blog post about a website or chrome extension that can be used in the classroom. This means the student will either be learning about the subject of their blog post or in the process of writing their blog post during their help desk period. When we are not doing this we can often be found in the makerspace learning more about all the amazing technology we have so that we can help our peers use the emerging technology. Of course we also help any of our peers or teachers with technology problems when they come to see us.

Our help desk program is oriented towards the development of communication and problem solving skills . Every day we have to solve a problem;  whether it be finding out how to use a certain piece of technology, communicating our discoveries, troubleshooting with school devices, or any other technology problem that comes our way. We also have to communicate with our teachers and peers to solve any problems they might be having. Through this process of constant communication the Help Desk students are always improving their skills in this area as well as leadership and problem solving skills.

In Mashpee,  the students on Help Desk are all in the eighth grade. They were selected by their teacher, Colleen Terrill, to be part of the program based on their skills with technology, troubleshooting skills, communication skills, and maturity. The students work after school in the library on certain days of the week. While they are at the help desk teachers and students can come to see the Help Desk students with any problems they are having with their technology.

Mashpee students have their own ipads as a part of the 1:1 initiative. The students all lease their ipads from the school and when they graduate at the end of their lease, the ipads are theirs to own. There are also chromebooks available at the school for student use. Like our program Mashpee’s Help Desk is focused on the development of skills by the student rather than the focal point being the existing ability with technology.

Hamilton Wenham also has a Help Desk. Their help desk is set up differently than Lynnfield and Mashpee’s. Like at LHS, students come to help desk during what would be a  free period. While in Help Desk they always have a set of specific goals. Their teacher advisor grades them based on a rubric including blog posts, productivity, and other elements of help desk. This grade goes into their report card and counts as its own class. Like Mashpee and Lynnfield, the Hamilton Wenham curriculum is largely based on the development of skills for the student rather than just focused on helping the students and teachers with their technology.

At the conference representatives from each of the three schools presented their own Help Desk format. After each school’s presented and explained their Help Desk a question and answer period was opened up. Those who attended the meeting asked questions of both the adult representatives and the students from all the schools.

Being able to talk about Help Desk was a phenomenal experience. I was able to express my opinion and to share my thoughts. I could see that the way we answered questions and presented ourselves may have helped to form a whole new Help Desk at another school. The entire experience was wonderful and I am very thankful  that I  was able to be a part of it.

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