Thursday, 13 December 2012

My TechKids - A Work in Progress

TechKids(c) is an initiative, which I developed in 2004 to provide a platform for girls and boys with an interest in technology and possessing collaboration skills to expand their knowledge of the real world applications of technology to improve life as well as validating their, often independently developed skills, in support of the taught curriculum. This also helps them to become lifelong learners and effectively assess 21st century learning tools.
The group is open to all children in Year 4 upwards (ages 8 to 12). Members must be nominated by class teachers (or the Head Teacher), or they are interviewed by the TechKids facilitator (Mr.Lowe) and at least one senior member of the current TechKids. In most cases, that means at least one boy and one girl from the Year 6 TechKids take an active role in the interview process. Where candidates are interviewed, the candidate should bring in, show and fully explain at least three examples of how they have used technology constructively to enhance or further their learning as well as how they have helped another member of the school community with a technology-related issue. All of the examples must be created by the candidate without a third party helping.
Successful candidates attend weekly meetings usually during the school day. The programme is not an Extra Curricular Activity (ECA) or After School Club (ASC). The programme runs alongside daily class schedules and members are withdrawn on a variety of schedules to maximise their learning opportunities and minimise disruption in curriculum areas. Members are taught through a rigorous programme which includes, but is not limited to: computer programming, mentoring, learning to use a variety of technology tools, collaboration skills and basic troubleshooting skills. Currently, TechKids have a range of skills and interests outside of TechKids from public speaking to swimming to singing. All Techkids are expected to work towards 5 achievement badges representing the five main areas of the programme: mentoring, programming, robotics, presenting and mastering(aka Problem Solving). In order to be considered for the following year’s programme, a candidate must earn a minimum of 4 of the 5 achievement badges and be recommended by at least one teacher and three students they have helped in the past. They will then be invited for an interview. All TechKids keep and are expected to maintain a record book(log) of all mentoring and other technology support they provide. The logs are the collected at regular intervals and discussed with the TechKid.

Throughout the year, when they are ready, a TechKid will be moved into phased support roles for students and teachers, assisting and guiding them in improving and supporting their use of new technology as well as encouraging and modelling improved methods of using “comfort zone” technologies with a view to encourage and model technology integration in regular daily engagements.

All TechKids must act within the following 10 expectations, which are directly connected to the IB Primary Years Programme(PYP) Learner Profile:.

A TechKid is:
  1. An Inquirer
  2. A Thinker
  3. A Communicator
  4. Reflective
  5. Balanced
  6. Open Minded
  7. Caring
  8. Principled
  9. Knowledgeable
  10. A Risk Taker

The TechKids programme is a free programme. No school running the programme may charge for it. Facilitators are volunteers who already possess a high level of expertise in technology integration at a primary school level. In some cases, a school may charge an administration fee, but this fee is unrelated to TechKids and neither TechKids facilitators nor anyone else related to the programme may charge or accept fees to run the programme. In some rare cases, it may be necessary for a TechKids programme to accept sponsor support to help pay for some aspects of the programme which cannot be internally funded by the school directly. In such cases, sponsorships may be accepted for small amounts on a case by case and item by item basis.
The TechKids are a member organisation of the Digital Leader Network.


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