Tech Warriors new to Henry Sibley
"Tech Warriors" provide device support and gain post-secondary skills
Posted on 02/10/2016
 Tech Warriors
Fourth hour Tech Warriors with advisor Matt Burr. 

With the implementation of 1:1 computing and the shift to personalized, digital learning this year, some 1,400 student laptops have been introduced to Henry Sibley High School. This influx of learning devices carries with it an increased need for technical support, but at the same time creates a hands-on learning opportunity for tech-savvy teens. Seeing this potential, administrators at Henry Sibley created the “Tech Warriors” – a device support resource operated by students, for students.

“We created the Tech Warriors as an opportunity for students to learn some preliminary skills and to support the EmPowerED initiative at the high school,” said Matt Burr, Henry Sibley’s A/V Coordinator and Tech Warriors advisor. “We already have students with an interest in technology and thought ‘why don’t we let them help with basic issues.’”

Located in the Henry Sibley media center, the Tech Warrior team provides technical support for students before, during and after school on a variety of topics.  Connecting to Wi-Fi, accessing the school’s network of printers, or troubleshooting general issues within Google are all within the realm of the Tech Warriors. Password assistance and issues of greater complexity are still referred to the technology office, however.

With 15 members, Tech Warriors are on hand for most of the school day for students to receive help on a drop-in basis. Despite this wide coverage, however, the Tech Warriors are always looking for ways to provide more support for their fellow students, even outside of school hours.

“A lot of the questions we receive are on printers, the Wi-Fi and common issues with Google,” said Evan Johnson, a sophomore Tech Warrior. “We are creating video tutorials for our website on some of those questions we’ve seen a few times, which should be up soon. People can check the tutorials if they aren’t able to come in. That way they are still using our resources.”

Developing creative problem solving skills and fostering ingenuity were among the intended outcomes for Tech Warriors when the program was created, according to Burr. Tech Warriors has also proven to be an opportunity for students to find their niche at Henry Sibley.

“The students in Tech Warriors have become more entrenched in Sibley culture,” said Burr. “Some of them didn’t have much interest in the other school activities. It’s good for the students to be involved and through Tech Warriors they get to meet other techs who are interested in the same kinds of things they are.”

Tech Warriors also develop customer service and social skills, even resiliency when faced with a challenging tech-related problem.

For senior Ben Yelinek, Tech Warriors was also an opportunity to stay connected with the school and share his knowledge with other students. On track with credits, Yelinek chose to join Tech Warriors rather than registering for an early release or independent study.

“I have some extra time as a senior, so this was an opportunity for me to help out students and be here during the day instead of leaving early. It’s also cool because we get to learn about the projectors and printers, in addition to focusing on computers,” said Yelinek.

While an interest in technology and some free time are needed to join Tech Warriors, not all members are computer experts. Burr and the district’s technology department are on hand to provide insight when needed, but students are encouraged to take ownership of the program and trouble-shoot problems independently, exploring their interests and talents through this new opportunity.