Student Tech Team tackles real-world troubleshooting

With over 1,700 electronic devices being used every day by students and staff at Elkhart Memorial, there are bound to be technical issues. For a group of 13 students at Elkhart Memorial, these issues provide opportunities for hands-on learning.

Known as the “student tech team,” this group of students participates in the Memorial Student Tech Services Class as part of the Career Exploration Internship program. Under the direction of three professional ECS Technology Services staff members, as well as an instructor and the internship coordinator, the students provide students and staff with technical assistance for their iPads throughout the school day.

Memorial Student Tech Team

Within the program, students spend time troubleshooting at the help desk and in the building, and also build an individual digital portfolio, participate in a weekly tech seminar for skills development, complete internship courses, and finish with a capstone project. Students also accompany the ECS Technology Services team on tech calls throughout the district for additional learning opportunities.

“Students have the ability to utilize hands-on learning to help teachers and students with technology problems,” said Dakota Powers, Elkhart Memorial senior. “Through this program, students get to increase their communication skills of all kinds, from sending formal emails to speaking in-person, they are able to gain real world experience. Students also learn to problem solve on the spot with problems they may not have been taught in a classroom. In the world of technology, things are constantly changing, so problems may arise that we’ve never seen.” Powers was one of the students who helped get the project off the ground.

Powers continued, “Students are learning so much, including intuitive problem solving, digital citizenship, creating how-to sheets and videos, speaking as professionals, and of course, lots and lots of technology and software.”

“Although I want them to gain tech knowledge, I am more motivated to see them develop their problem solving skills, communication skills, and responsibility,” said Heidi Krusenklaus, program instructor and desk coordinator. “I love their intern lessons because we are helping them build resumes, manage stress, failure, and relationships.”

“We get together as a team and discuss how we helped solve problems,” said Noah Jackson, Elkhart Memorial sophomore. “If it is a recurring issue, we will know because we document what the issues are and how we fixed them. It’s a learning curve – the more you do, the more you get to know.”

In addition to hands-on work, students are also given the chance to learn about careers in the technical field.

“I will be bringing in people from different tech industries to meet with the students,” said Krusenklaus. “Professionals from the field will meet with the students and share experiences, best practices, and encourage students on which path to take for their specific career choices.”

Student holding iPad

“We hope to spread this program to every eligible school,” said Powers. “That way, the district’s Technology Services Department can focus on large scale projects and the students can manage the day-to-day technical support.”

This summer, two students completed interns with the ECS Technology Services Department.