Want to help your child with his homework? Sure you do – until you realise your little one is working on coding a new app. What’s a parent to do? Let the kids teach you! Meet the Techsperts, a student-led technology leadership group from Stamford American International School, who are transforming how kids, teachers and parents use and acquire educational tech skills.
From the Educators
On how the idea started:
When Craig Kemp joined SAIS as the Head of Educational Technology and Innovation in 2015, he arrived with an idea. He wanted to empower a group of “teacher experts” from among the student body to support students, teachers and parents with their tech-related problems. The idea was a huge success, and Craig started sharing his idea on his blog and through his work in schools all over the world.
“Over the years, the Techsperts – at SAIS and at schools globally – have transitioned from tech support to a focus on leadership, strategy, presentation and guidance. We want to show teachers and parents how technology can add value and enhance learning.” – Craig
On what the Techsperts do:
The Techsperts teach. They teach their peers and teachers, organise after-school parent sessions and speak at conferences, schools and companies.
“A Techspert showed me how to design a game using the coding app Hopscotch so birthday celebrations in my classroom change slightly for each student. What an amazing idea and so simple! I feel empowered to learn more thanks to him. I have never experienced such an exciting initiative in my teaching career.” – Daisy Ye, a Grade 4 SAIS teacher
“There are so many educational tech tools today that it’s almost impossible for teachers and parents to identify which ones are the best. The Techsperts choose the most effective tools and explain to teachers and parents how to use them.” – Adam Torrens, SAIS’s Elementary Ed-Tech Coach
On becoming a Techspert:
Last year, 90 students applied and 12 students were selected. Grade 4 and 5 students must complete an application, submit a reference letter from a teacher, coach or parent, and create a video to demonstrate their presentation skills.
“We speak with the referees along with teachers, specialist teachers and principals. The kids then present a tech-related task and ‘jobs’ are offered to 12 students.” – Craig
On how the Techsperts acquire their knowledge:
If the Techsperts are teaching the teachers, where does their knowledge come from?
“Our students live in the digital world; it’s what they’ve grown up with and what they know. Adults need to accept and embrace them as experts. Students learn from passion and use tools like YouTube and resources provided at Stamford to enhance their own skill sets.” – Craig
“Technology integration is a part of the students’ lives. They don’t see themselves as learners of technology, but users of technology to enhance their learning.” – Adam
From the Kids
We asked a few Techsperts what they enjoy most about the club.
“One of my favourite moments was when we first found out about the Hololens, and it was amazing! I loved using CoSpaces to create virtual worlds and building a Piper computer and making it work from nothing. I enjoyed all of my experiences, and I will be applying again next year.” – Ellison, Grade 4
“The Technopreneur challenge was a whole new level, and it meant a lot to me. I coded a game on Hopscotch to showcase our entrepreneurial design and then turned my game into a Hololens mixed reality experience – seeing it after development AMAZED me!” – Jordan, Grade 4
“My favourite part was presenting for the first time at the EduTech Asia conference. I felt a rush of excitement and energy the first time I presented, especially because we were teaching 200 people how we use virtual reality in our classrooms. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me.” – Benny, Grade 5
To read more about the Techsperts, visit Craig Kemp’s blog here.
Written in collaboration with:
1 Woodleigh Lane
6602 7247 | sais.edu.sg
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