Talented T.C. Williams High School students were the secret tool behind the choice and recent roll out of the new Chromebooks in classrooms.
Student interns for the ACPS Department of Technology Services helped find the perfect technology for their high school peers when ACPS learned this summer that the previously-used digital tablets were being discontinued and needed to be replaced quickly ahead of the start of the school year.
The student interns were challenged to identify a device that was right for their peers and then create instructional ‘how to’ videos to show them how to use it. At the time, they didn’t know they were playing such a critical role in influencing technology selection for the entire school division. The ACPS Department of Technology Services showed their support for the students’ choice by rolling out the Chromebooks to all T.C. Williams students.
“The students had no idea why they were asked to do this, but they worked beautifully together to test and help select devices that would eventually be used by all high school students,” said Student Helpdesk Coordinator Danielle Thorne.
The eight students were given four different digital devices and asked to provide feedback on the advantages and disadvantages of each. They tested the devices for reliability, durability, ease of use and how each device felt in hand. ACPS Chief Technology Officer Elizabeth Hoover and her staff paid close attention to their comments and selected the technology for all ACPS high school students based on their reactions.
The students were then assigned the task of creating a video to show their peers how to use the technology they had chosen, and writing a ‘how to’ guide so that they could explain the instructions in language they might use in conversation with their friends.
“The internships are an excellent way for students to succeed as they learn the role technology plays in the daily operations of the school division and in the lives of each student in the community,” said Dr. Hoover.
The students chose the Lenovo Yoga 11e Chromebook for its ability to work both as a tablet and laptop. Students thought it also felt sturdy and durable, while the Chrome Operating System readily saved their work when they themselves forgot to.
The students involved in the decision-making process were Claudya Lee-Herrera, Saleh Hassen, Emmanuel Edu, Jr., Teddy Gizachew, Marjan Akter, Day’Quon Henderson, Jake Hamilton and Sierra Arnold. The internship, during which students receive a stipend, normally runs for three weeks, but this summer it was extended for an additional week due to the urgency of the work.
Student interns work closely with Technology Services while gaining experience in troubleshooting computer and network systems, cleaning computers at schools, shadowing division-level employees and supporting new and returning teachers in professional technical development. The ACPS Technology Services Summer Internship is awarded each May to students in grades 10, 11 and 12. Students must submit an application, participate in an in-person interview, compose a cover letter and resume, and obtain two recommendations.