How Can Your School Create Student Run Tech Teams?

TechEducator Podcast Episode 107

Have you ever wondered what it might be like for the STUDENTS to have more ownership of the technology choices in your school?  What if your schools goal was to implement it's very own Apple Genius bar where the students fixed the TEACHERS devices?  In this episode, we learn how one school is taking learning out of the hands of the IT department and putting in the hands of the students themselves by creating a Student Run Tech Team!

The TechEducator Podcast is a weekly round table discussion about current topics in educational technology. For more information, please visit

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  1. Jeff Bradbury –
  2. Jeff Herb –
  3. Sam Patterson –
  4. Jennifer Judkins –
  5. David Saunders @DesignSaunders
  6. Josh Gauthier @mrgfactoftheday
  7. Jennifer Scheffer – @JLScheffer

About our Guests:

Burlington High School Help Desk

  • -History, origin of the Help Desk
  • -Initial goal/purpose of the program
  • -How were/are students recruited?
  • -What do students do as members of a student tech team? How do they assist your IT department?
  • -How is the program structured? Nuts and bolts questions…I get asked these A LOT…
  • -is it a course?
  • -what department does it fall under?
  • -do students earn credit?
  • -are there prerequisites?
  • -what is the curriculum like?
  • -what types of learning activities/projects do students complete?
  • -how are students assessed?
  • -where is the Help Desk located?
  • -how do students and teachers visit the Help Desk?
  • -when is it open?
  • -How did teachers feel about students as tech leaders/coaches?
  • -How has the goal/purpose of the Help Desk changed over the past five years?
  • -What kinds of students do you look for? What kinds of students are successful in this type of program?
  • -What is the ILE? (20% time, genius hour project, based off of Google’s 20% time project)
  • -What is Help Desk Live? (our Live Hangout On Air Show)
  • -What advice do you have for other teachers/tech coaches who want to start at student tech team
  • -What are the challenges of starting a student tech team?
  • -How can you convince your school leadership to start a student tech team?
  • -What other examples of tech teams can you share?
  • -How do you promote your Help Desk (locally, nationally, globally?)
  • -How can people connect with your Help Desk program? Where can they find you on social media?

Helpful links to start a tech team:

HW Tech Help Desk – Hamilton Wenham Regional High School / Middle School Middle School

Digital Learning Coach:  Johanna Wilson, MS. Ed, Ed.

Special Educator, AT Specialist, and now 6-12 Digital Learning Coach, Johanna has held several roles over the past seven years in the HWRSD. No matter what the title, one thing has remained the same – Johanna believes that technology has the ability to engage ALL learners. As the instructor of the Emerging Technology course, Johanna provides opportunities for students to direct their own learning, authentic real-world learning experiences, and the platform to share their vast knowledge of technology to support the students, teachers and parents of Hamilton-Wenham and beyond.                                   

Origin/Initial Purpose:

  • 2012: HW piloted a 1:1 initiative w/ iPads. (25 student cohort)
  • A student , a junior at the time, started the HW Tech Help Desk as an independent learning project – modeled after Burlington High School’s Help Desk.
  • Initial Goal (same as current goal) “To provide excellent customer service and support the Tech Initiatives of the students and staff of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and Miles River Middle School.”
  • HW Regional is 1:1 w/iPads grade 9-11. All teachers have MacBook’s and iPads.
  • Miles River Middle School Staff have MacBook’s and iPads.


  • 16 High School Students (the HW Tech Help Desk is staffed every block during the day).
  • 8 Middle School “interns”.
  • For High School Students, the HW Tech Help Desk is part of the Emerging Technology Course.
  • The Emerging Technology Course is a semester long elective. I have a meeting with prospective Ss prior to enrollment to give them an idea of the expectations. (credit or P/F)
  • Ss can take the course as many times as they like (I’m hoping this model will allow for more student mentoring/training)
  • Course is aligned w/ ISTE and Common Core Standards.
  • Primary Responsibilities: provide excellent customer service to students and staff, respond to tickets submitted to IT through
  • Course Work Categories: Weekly Assignments (50%), ILE (20%), Help Desk (20%) “Try- This” Assignments (10%)
  • Blended Learning Model: Google Classroom as LMS.
  • Assessment: Screencasting/Blogging Rubrics, Try-This Assignments (either do it or not)
  • Location: Took over the Middle School library circulation desk: Central to both MS and HS.
  • Ts and Ss can come to the desk anytime, call, email, submit a ticket.
  • Ss use Twitter and Blogger to highlight and promote their work.
  • Ss participate in #techteamMA twitter chats.
  • Ss work with the IT department to learn how to fix smartboards, change bulb, replace printer drums, clean projector filters…)


  • The Help Desk is in constant evolution (I’m re-thinking the ILE, different Ss bring different skills to the table)
  • Blogging and Screencasting is challenging with so many Ss. (Another thing I’m rethinking…)
  • Provides opportunities I didn’t expect (mentoring, students in different grade-levels interacting,
  • Don’t re-invent the wheel: Jenn Scheffer has already done it all (just kidding…)
  • If you have a MS/HS campus getting MS “interns” involved has been invaluable.
  • Start small: Build the program alongside your Ss.
  • Create a help desk that works for your school.
  • Promote your help desk – encourage your staff to bring tech issues to the desk to solve.

Links from our live chat:

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