For the last month, students and teachers at Dempsey Middle School have been getting technical help from the new Dempsey Help Desk, which is run by students.
Manas Paranjape and Connor Frye, a pair of friends and fellow sixth-graders, said Thursday that they had kicked around the idea of doing a help desk because they work and play with computers in their free time and thought it would be fun to get involved at school.
“It seemed more fun than class,” Frye joked, adding that so far, the help desk has replaced screens on Chromebooks, disassembled old computers, and assisted with software problems. Frye said he’s hoping to learn how to repair track-pads and keys soon.
Paranjape said he enjoys working on the computers and is considering making a career of it in the future.
“I like seeing what’s going on behind the scenes,” he said.
Paranjape, who has some programming experience, added he’d like to get more involved in troubleshooting software issues.
Eliah Curtis, an eighth-grader, said she joined the help desk last week because she’d like to learn how to work with and fix computers.
Suzanne Williams, the blended learning coach at Dempsey, said she is thrilled that students are running the help desk at the school, adding it’s a great opportunity.
“In the (Library Media Center) we’re trying to create a maker space and have more hands-on opportunities,” Williams said. “Since we are a 1-1 building, we have a Chromebook for every student, and I thought what a great way to get students involved in the whole process. They can go through the process of what does it take to fix a Chromebook.”
Williams added she hopes to have the students at the help desk give presentations to other students about taking care of Chromebooks.
“(I’d love to) build that messaging throughout the school,” Williams said. “It’s great that students take a leadership role… It’s a more authentic experience. This is helping them develop, and it’s showing other students that they have the ability to fix it. The students are working together, and it gives more ownership to the device. “
Williams said a group of students were trying to make a video with a green screen and needed help, so the help desk assisted them with their green screen and video.
“I have great plans for this,” Williams said. “I hope to really grow it and build in more components. They are so knowledgeable. This is their interest.”
The desk is staffed a few times a week for now, but Fyre said he hopes they can work at the desk more often.