When I was teaching high school English, I’d often find myself faced with a plethora of cords, dongles, and USB cables I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to maneuver to connect laptops, computers, and other mobile devices to our class projector. Bewildered by the unfamiliar technology and not wanting to bother our always-swamped tech director, I’d usually defer to my tech-savvy students to power up the gadgets for my lessons. A few of them were always happy to volunteer (or at least they always pretended to be; perhaps visions of extra credit danced in their heads) to set up whatever program was operating, and we could move on with class
This is why I think the concept behind Generation YES (Generation of Youth and Educators Succeeding) is brilliant: the not-for-profit helps train students, not paid employees, to support technology in schools. Since 1995, Generation YES has empowered students to support technology integration in classrooms, with a variety of different programs that helps students become technology literate.
One of the programs Generation YES offers is TechYES, which provides student technology literacy assessment and certification for students in grades 6-9. This program is a student-centered and project-based certification program that also meets Common Core Math and ELA standards, as well as ISTE NETS standards.
Another program GenerationYES offers is GenYES, To date, over 75,000 students in over 2,000 schools worldwide have participated in the GenYES program, which creates a student leadership team that can help teachers with tech support and technology integration within schools. It’s a great idea, because while students receive useful, real world technology training, teachers within the school get high-quality tech support and help in using technology in their own classrooms.
Pricing for these programs varies based on school size and the school’s choice of customized options within the curriculum, but it doesn’t come cheap — a site license fee for GenYES can cost a school anywhere from $2,500-$10,000. However, it could end up being a good investment: if tech-savvy students are able to provide IT support, the program could pay for itself in saving the school money they’d normally be spending on an IT staff.
Readers, have any of you enrolled in or heard about Generation YES programs? Share your impressions with me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter to @Technapex or @ce_doyle.