Tech Team Experience Yields Students Ready for Next Steps

March 7, 2023 / Perspectives in Education/All News

In this blog post, we learn how Jackson Academy works to develop future leaders and prepare students for careers through student Tech Teams. Teen Tech Week is March 5-11.

Jackson Academy recently received renewal as an Apple Distinguished School (ADS) through 2025. As one of four ADS in Mississippi, we have been at the forefront of technology integration in the classroom for more than 10 years. Students learn the practical and responsible use of technology from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Teachers continually develop new ways to keep education fresh and up to date.

As a 1:1 school, we would not be able to accomplish all that we do without the assistance of a special group of students. In a school of more than 1,600 Apple devices and a myriad of projectors, printers, and equipment, one would think that we have a staff of 10 or more. This is not the case for us because of our student Tech Teams. These seventh to twelfth-grade students elect to add a “Tech Team” period to their school schedule to work in our Tech Center. They provide tech support to students, teachers, and staff. They may even go “in the field” to provide on-site support as needed by a teacher in the classroom. 

“The student Tech Team is an integral part of our 1:1 program,” says Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Eddie Wettach. “They serve a critical role in maintaining the level of support that our staff and students expect from our program. Students involved in the Tech Team learn critical skills that will serve them for the rest of their life.”

Having a Tech Team is not new for schools with 1:1 initiatives. Many public and independent schools employ similar models where students provide basic technical support. There are sound reasons for this trend. Not only do students learn the essential skills of troubleshooting technical issues and resolving problems, but they also learn how to navigate conflict and work on teams. Most importantly, they become better communicators and comfortable with public speaking. 

Our goal is that they leave our campus as confident, curious, and capable individuals ready to succeed in college or whatever path they choose after graduation. A two-year veteran of the Tech Team, current freshman Bennett Allen credits the Tech Center with personal and professional growth. “Working in the Tech Center has helped me a lot with social anxiety and taught me how to diagnose different problems about all sorts of technology issues,” Bennett says.

Low has been with Jackson Academy since 2022. She works in the Tech Center to ensure that faculty and staff have the tools to integrate technology successfully in the classroom. Before coming to JA, Low, a former Genius for Apple, Inc., oversaw Tech Support and helped manage the 1:1 initiative for Rankin County School District. A 1:1 school offers an Apple device for each student. 

As our school grows, so will our reliance on technology in the classroom. The Jackson Academy Tech Center plans to enhance this successful initiative by recruiting more students and including the Tech Team in student learning opportunities and staff professional development.