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Students earn class credit for troubleshooting skills

Student Technology Leaders at Lawton and Eisenhower high schools are now earning class credits for troubleshooting and fixing technology hardware problems at their schools  and they will be able to become certified Chromebook technicians this spring. 

All the student techs will be able to log in to the portal and become certified on Chromebook desktops and notebooks. And they can take that certification with them when they graduate, said A.J. Watson, Lawton Public Schools Media Technology Center information technology assistant. 

Chromebooks is one of many educational technological devices that the students know how to troubleshoot, but that knowledge is only part of what they gain as a student technology leaders. The students learn responsibility and gain confidence, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, said Lawton High librarian Stackey Weeks and Eisenhower High librarian Trish Treadwell. The two librarians are the daily mentors, teachers and trainers for the students. 

The STL program trains students to troubleshoot and fix hardware problems on devices at their high schools, reducing the number of district work orders while giving the students hands-on, real world experience. The program was developed by Communications Director Lynn Cordes and piloted as an elective class at Lawton High during the 2015-2016 school year. Both Lawton High and Eisenhower have the program this year. In October, it became a credit class, called Computer Repair/Troubleshoot 1, Weeks said.

The plan is to add the STL program to MacArthur High School next school year and "possibly the middle schools as well," Watson said. 

Although the program wasn't developed as a career pathway program, it has turned out to be just that for the students  an avenue to their futures. Whether their future is in technology or not, the growth they experience in troubleshooting, critical-thinking and communication skills will help them, Weeks and Treadwell said.

"Even if you have all technology knowledge in the world, without any personal skills it is almost wasted because you have to be able to be able to explain it to someone," Watson said, adding that he has seen the students grow in their ability to communicate with the teachers, which can be daunting at first.

The path to becoming a student technology leader includes recommendations, an interview and hands-on training.

"They have to have good grades, good discipline and good attendance" to be recommended by a teacher, Weeks said. Once a list of recommendations is compiled by the librarian, the list is submitted to Cordes. 

Then Watson, lead computer technician Arthur Jones, Information Technology Director Zeldon Rice and Cordes interview each one of them and make sure they will be a good fit for it, Watson said.

Just before school started this year, a day of training was held for the students who had passed the interview phase.

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