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Student Team Leads the Way in Teaching Tech

January 07, 2016

As any parent or teacher could tell you, kids have no shortage of curiosity when it comes to new technology. The new generation of “digital natives” use tech all the time, and are quick to pick up new tools and platforms. Their teachers have a role to play too, helping them learn appropriate uses for tech in the classroom. But what’s next? When students have mastered the way to use digital tools at school, can they turn that knowledge around and become teachers themselves? That’s just what the Albuquerque, New Mexico, school district is trying to find out. Meet the SWAT Team at Petroglyph Elementary.

That’s right, SWAT: Students Who Advance Technology. This crack team of fourth and fifth graders serves as tech support for students and teachers alike, making their way around the school to troubleshoot computer problems, create tech tutorial videos, and help their classmates use the school’s high-tech devices. Whether helping third-graders develop virtual presentations on iPads or working with teachers to keep their software up to date, the 23 SWAT Team members are putting their expertise to work – and it’s making a difference. According to tech teacher Tia Turner, “We find that they’re more motivated to do their classwork and come to school, because they’re using the technology.” And their peers love it, too: as fourth grader Ava Martinez put it, “It’s just fun.”

Petroglyph’s SWAT Program is part of a national organization called GenYes, which helps prepare students to become leaders in their schools by taking charge of tech. Their philosophy is that students, with their affinity and enthusiasm for all things digital, have a big role to play in driving the way schools use technology. And if you ask the young graphic designers, programmers, and IT pros in Albuquerque, you’ll be reminded that tech in the classroom isn’t just useful – it’s inspiring.