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Tech Busters giving CPCS students a leg up in the 21st century

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COLTON - Last year when Colton-Pierrepont Central School introduced Google Chromebooks to its high school students, there were some hurdles as students adjusted to using a device that was unfamiliar to many of them.

“I realized I needed a class to aid their tech needs,” social studies teacher Megan Leger said. “Last year I noticed how much time I was taking away from my subject area to teach them how to use the Chromebooks.”

As the year progressed, some students picked up the technology while other continued to struggle and it was with that in mind that Ms. Leger started Tech Busters, a class that’s offered every other day for the first half of the school year. Now that most of the students are familiar with the devices, the class has grown into a lot more than just learning the basics of the technology.

“One of our goals here at CPCS has been to get kids to be their own leaders,” Ms. Leger said during a presentation to the board of education earlier this month.

Referring to the students in the class, Ms. Leger said, “They are becoming my experts and my leaders. If there is anyone sitting there in English class with a tech issue, usually there is a Tech Buster there who is able to help them out.”

Two students in the class, sophomore Zachary Williams and junior Jonathan Porter, said helping other students is one of the best parts of being a Tech Buster.

“I feel that other students who haven’t taken this class won’t be able to do as much, but we can also teach them how to use these tools,” Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Porter agreed saying “helping younger kids,” is the best part of the class.

“We’re almost looked up upon,” he said.

But before the class got started, Mr. Williams and Mr. Porter said they signed up to learn more about the Chromebooks.

“The laptops were kind of new in the school, and I was trying to learn how to use them and learn different ways to use their tools for projects,” Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Porter echoed those sentiments, “We got notified that we would be the first students to learn new things about the Chromebooks.”

“It’s a good class to get them oriented with technology,” Ms. Leger said, adding next year she is hoping to have a Tech Busters I and Tech Busters II class.

“We needed a course that taught kids different ways technology,” she said. “Instead of just texting, Facebooking or Tweeting, we were doing infographics. They like playing games, but we’re making games. You can’t have a career playing games, but you can have a great career making games.”

And one of the best parts about the class is it’s costing the district little or no money since each of the students already have Google Chromebooks assigned to them.

“With all these budget cuts going on, I was looking for a way to teach them technology skills that could be useful to them down the road,” Ms. Leger said.

Superintendent Joseph A. Kardash said he likes what he sees, not only from the student Tech Busters but from Ms. Leger as well.

“She has been a peer leader with out teachers, helping them to adopt technology into their curriculum, and she’s replicating that with the students and creating peer leaders to help other students,” he said. “These are the little things that are helping to make our laptop program successful.”

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