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SWAT Teams Descend on Sudbury Catholic Schools

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Leann LaFramboise, (left), one of three TIM Teachers (Technology Integration Mentors) at the Sudbury Catholic District School Board and Lisa Samuels, Technology Coordinator (right), briefed the new SWAT Teams for their mission. Students had the choice of creating podcasts, promotional videos, logos, instructional videos, posters, brochures or songs, all within the theme of the Laptop Program.

January 30, 2009 - SWAT Teams are alive and well at Sudbury Catholic Schools…SWAT (Students Who Assist Technology) launched this new and exciting initiative at the Board’s Catholic Education Centre.
Forty students from eleven of the Board’s schools participated in a one-day session with the TIM Teachers (Technology Integration Mentors) and Tech Coordinators.

The SWAT teams have a very important mission: Helping to bring technology into their 21st. century classrooms.

One student from each of the Grade 7 and 8 classes was nominated by their teacher to join the inaugural team of Students Who Assist Technology. Grade 7 and 8 students at SCDSB are part of the “One to One Laptop Program” in which each student has a Macbook laptop to use for the school year.

As any classroom teacher will tell you, it is not only difficult to keep up with the ever changing world of technology, but it is especially difficult to keep up with the technological aptitudes of the students - or said simply “the kids know more than the adults.” That is why the SWAT team was formed.

These students will be recognized as the experts they are. The goal is to have them help with the little problems that arise when using technology in the classroom. The students will also be asked for feedback on various aspects of the laptop program and are asked to share their knowledge with others. From time to time, the group will gather in person but for the most part it will be done through the use of technology. In fact, they had the opportunity to reflect on their day and give feedback through a wiki. A wiki is an interactive webspace where students are able to post their comments and respond to the comments of others.

This group is not expected to tackle this mission alone. Along with Lisa Samuels, Technology Coordinator, three teachers have been assigned the task of helping teachers to integrate technology into the 7 and 8 classrooms this year. These teachers are called Technology Integration Mentors (TIM teachers). Each TIM teacher supports fifteen different classrooms and has taken on the role of organizing and guiding the SWAT team.

The first day with the SWAT team included team building games and exercises, a video chat with the Superintendent of Education Jean McHarg, an overview of their roles, a tour of the Information Management Services Department, an interactive whiteboard activity, words of encouragement and thanks from the Director of Education Catherine McCullough, followed by a pizza lunch. After lunch students had the choice of creating podcasts, promotional videos, logos, instructional videos, posters, brochures or songs, all within the overall theme of the Laptop Program. SWAT Team students used the Macbooks to produce projects of considerable quality in a short period of time.

These new ambassadors for the laptop program have returned to their schools where they will take on a leadership role in their classrooms and will be called upon to assist students and staff with basic troubleshooting, software questions, setting up and using projectors, interactive whiteboards and many other technologies.

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