Monday, November 24, 2014

Partners in Technology, Juan Fernandez-Saines, Librarian, Pickard Elementary School

The excitement had been building up for many weeks.  Whenever they had a chance to, Pickard school students would ask the librarian, Mr. Fernandez, “When are the Chromebooks going to come?” In anticipation, and to prepare them for their arrival the students watched two short videos that introduced the use of the Chromebooks.  Once the devices arrived, the students eagerly explored all the capabilities of the 19 newly acquired machines.

After the dust had settled---so to speak, some students began to ask, “What more can we do?”  When the students learned that Pickard had begun a new initiative to inform parents about the CPS Parent Portal, they asked the librarian to consider making a Student Tech Club.  But this tech club would be different from others.  This tech club would be one where students would share with the school community their newly acquired knowledge.  

On November 6, seven, upper class students willingly volunteer to form this group.  On this date, with the counseling of the librarian and some of their classroom teachers, the students diligently trained on how to use the Parent Portal so that they would in turn teach the parents.  On November 12, during the Parent and Teacher Conference, the students taught over 40 parents how to create an account and use the parent portal.  Each student was assigned to one of 9 Chromebook stations. The students were so patient and welcoming to each of the parents that came.  The students sat with each parent and explained the steps in both English and Spanish.

All of the parents that came expressed great gratitude in receiving such direct help.  One parent commented, “My son attends a high school, and in that high school parents have never received this kind of help like here at Pickard Elementary School.”  The students felt very proud of their work.

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