Bayshore Middle School Tech Team

Bayshore  Middle School Tech Team
Design Challenge

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Starting the Tech Team-Part 2

I was excited when I was asked to be the “adult in the room” aka adviser for the Bayshore Tech team, but on the same hand, was not sure how to tackle this task.  The first thing I did was to “Google it” to look for other ideas on how people set up their team, how members were selected, and the types of projects they did.  I knew this would be such a positive experience for the students because it would
  • Create student leaders at school
  • Encourage teamwork, cooperation, and collaboration
  • Practice coding skills
  • Give them the opportunity at public speaking
  • Encourage digital citizenship
  • Help build friendships that crossed grade level boundaries
  • Help them create content
  • Help them build confidence
  • Help them have student voice
We decided we needed a purpose and a mission statement.  After looking at other websites, one of the purposes of a student led team was to act as a help-desk or to staff a “genius bar”.  Though the students have helped troubleshoot basic issues in their teacher's’ classroom, that did not seem like something that would work with the middle school schedule.  We also toyed with the idea of having a “genius bar” but that did not seem like it would work either. You can view our purpose and mission statement by clicking on this link: Bayshore Tech Team Presentation. We finally agreed that we wanted a program that was student led, that had specific tasks (you can view some of the tasks we completed in the presentation) so that we were not scattered and doing too many things at once.  It was difficult to get 20 students to agree on the same task, so team leaders from each grade level were created.

The job of the team leaders was to meet together with me to look at different tasks and decide what we would like to do.  After the leadership team decided on a specific project, their job was to do the groundwork to have as much information to present to the entire Tech Team. Some of our entire team meetings were spent hearing the team leaders’ proposals and deciding the direction we were heading.  Our most current project is the installation of a Lego Wall in room 241.

Dr. Strobel

Friday, May 6, 2016

Ideas for Student-Led Tech Teams

  1. Tech Contest- At first, students may not be very enthusiastic to be involved in a "tech team". A contest might grab their attention and get them excited about helping the school and working with technology throughout the school!
  2. Coding Workshops or Maker Space- This should be very informal, relaxed, and open to all students. Reserve an hour or two in a classroom or your auditorium and invite students to come and learn about coding, robotics, or STEM creations. A great place to start is with block coding using Scratch or Hour of Code.
  3. Coding Choice Activities- If you are looking for a more controlled and organized environment
  4. Student-Led Tutorials- Start by asking teachers and other students what programs they want to learn how to use. From those suggestions, students can create tutorials, either videos or online presentations, demonstrating step-by-step how to use these programs.
  5. Teacher Workshop/Tech Expo- Organize an event for your school district for parents, teachers, and administrators to present and teach some of the tools that your tech team members created tutorials for. Here are two ways of organizing this event:
    1. Presentations: Students can demonstrate how to use these program is sessions. Attendees can choose sessions they want to attend in different classrooms throughout the school.
    2. 1-on-1: Held in a bigger room, (such as a Library/Media Center, Cafeteria, or Auditorium), tables and chair should be set up around the room, each table for a different program.
  6. Basic Troubleshooting- Either an hour or two after school or during a lunch period, members should be available to help teachers with their school devices or a specific program.
  7. Teaching Lower Grades- Though this may require a little bit of planning and you might need to wait for approval from your school district, taking your team on a trip to visit and teach lower grades is a great way to get younger kids and teachers excited about computer science and using technology in the classroom! This should be done at the end of the school year to allow the team to develop lessons and tutorials and practice teaching them.
  8. Digital Citizenship- Through online games, such as Minecraft EDU and Second Life, students can interact with others, reinforcing vital digital citizenship concepts in an online game.

Luke Ferrell
8th Grade Leader and Founder
Bayshore Tech Team

Creation of the Bayshore Tech Team

I have the privilege of working with a very talented and well-rounded group of middle school students that make up the Bayshore Dolphin's Tech Team. These students not only love tech but are involved in band, chorus, drama, sports, Boy Scouts, and community service.

The concept of a Tech Team was purposed in 2013 by a 6th grader at the Mikey D 3 v 3 benefit basketball tournament to then Vice Principal Mr. Alston. The original purpose of the team was to compete in the White House Film Fest, (which we did ). The team started as 5 students who met twice a week during lunch.  These students had approximately 4 weeks to get the video created and submitted. They used their smartphones to record the footage, uploaded it to Animoto (which at that time was free) and worked to edit together the various pieces. There were so many frustrating moments because there were multiple times footage was lost or had to be redone because of the quality. These students worked tirelessly to edit the raw footage and to finish the video.  They were determine to finish this project and represent Bayshore!  Starting with a challenge or specific project is the way to go because it created so much energy and excitement.  After finishing the video they asked what was the next step and couldn't wait to get started on that task!

Thanks to the support from our principal, Mr. Scarano, our then Vice-Principal, Mr. Alston, and our current Vice Principal, Mr. Cullen, the team evolved into a general-purpose Tech Team, which takes on a variety of projects at our school and for our district. We have presented at parent's nights, assisted in troubleshooting equipment for presentations, and presented at EdCamp Jersey Shore and Ednado.  These students have created digital badges and tutorials for teachers in the building to use. We also have a partnership with the Computer Science department at Monmouth University.

From the first team of 5 sixth graders passionate about creating a video for the White House Challenge, we have grown into a team of 29 students.  This team reaches beyond the walls of Bayshore.  We are pleased to have DJ Hager, a former Bayshore student and a student leader at High School South be a part of this amazing team. We are an entirely student-led team of 6th, 7th, 8th and 12th grade students. There are "team leaders" for each grade level that suggest and plan activities for the group.These students meet after school once a week for approximately 45 minutes, which enables former students the opportunity to stay involved with the team.

Below are some of the videos showing what we created or participated in:.

Dr. Donna Strobel
Bayshore Middle School Tech Team Advisor

Welcome to the Blog

As a longtime member of the Bayshore Tech Team, I've watched the team evolve from a 7-member once-a-week lunchtime team into a 29-member extracurricular activity.

One funny anecdote: At Edcamp Jersey Shore this past summer, I gave probably the only student-driven presentation to teachers about how to start a tech team within their own home districts, which was extremely well-received. The "unconference" evolved into the shove that sent me to some sort of prominence in advocating for student voice and allowed me to engage in online discussions with educators across my home state - and beyond.

Such a shove is now presented to the Bayshore Tech Team. One thing we have to face is that the internet, like the social trends that inhabit it, is dynamic. You can't just use one medium or one program to communicate to your clientele or followers, because such mediums may not evolve fast enough to avoid being overtaken by new mediums or programs. In many ways, the internet is survival of the fittest - you evolve or you fade into obscurity.

Now, the Bayshore Tech Team is evolving. We are opening this blog to share what we've learned, to encourage others to learn, and continue to drive student leadership, and maybe head to some conferences while we're at it. On that note, we plan to return to Edcamp Jersey Shore this summer - look out for us on August 25 at Middletown High School South!

Kevin Krippa
8th Grade
Student Leader
Student Voice Advocate
Member, Bayshore Tech Team