District combats technology issues with new “LAUNCH” initiative

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By Mindy Wang, Staff Reporter Life revolves around technology during distance learning, yet technology assistance can be difficult to obtain virtually. In order to combat this problem, the T/E School District created a Schoology course called LAUNCH that helps students resolve technology issues.  The course has folders containing video tutorials and instructions for troubleshooting with...

By Mindy Wang, Staff Reporter

Life revolves around technology during distance learning, yet technology assistance can be difficult to obtain virtually. In order to combat this problem, the T/E School District created a Schoology course called LAUNCH that helps students resolve technology issues. 

The course has folders containing video tutorials and instructions for troubleshooting with technology. LAUNCH has expanded to assist different grades and has folders with guidelines for different programs, such as Adobe Acrobat, WeVideo and Flipgrid. Co-creators Lisa Lukens and middle school librarians decided to set up the course so students can troubleshoot on their own before asking teachers. 

“Last spring in the midst of COVID-19, I had this nudge that there was a good chance we may not be back in school together for the start of the 20-21 school year, and if that would be true, then we needed to find an online platform to orient our middle school students to their new devices and technology tools along with providing support to our families at home,” Lukens said. 

LAUNCH was originally intended for only middle school students, but Lukens realized that elementary and high school students also needed a place for answers. A separate LAUNCH for kindergarten to fourth grade focuses on iPads, with different folders explaining Office 365, Microsoft Teams and district iPads. These implementations afford kids of all ages some independence in solving technology issues.

“We want LAUNCH to be a place where students take charge of their own tech support by visiting the topical folders in the course versus waiting for someone to tell them how to troubleshoot an issue,” Lukens said.  

LAUNCH continues to evolve and develop as different teachers add instructions and tutorials for their students. Any teacher can add resources to LAUNCH so that their students have access to instructions they need. 

  “It’s kind of fun because it’s like a collaborative project where we have others who are adding content to it, not just me or the two librarians,” Lukens said.

Currently, teachers do not have access to a medium like LAUNCH to help them with technology issues specific to teachers, so the district plans on making LAUNCH Plus for staff. Chemistry teacher Derrick Wood thinks that LAUNCH Plus could be helpful because teachers and students have different application options.

“LAUNCH is an incredibly useful resource, but it is geared toward students. Thus, all of the tutorials show how things are working from the students’ perspective, which isn’t always the same for teachers,” Wood said. “There are also many tools that teachers use, or want to learn how to use, for their class instruction. LAUNCH Plus will be a Resource Bank for them to access these new technology tools.”

Students recognize that LAUNCH is a great resource for distance learning. Sophomore Gabi Shu is a bring your own device (BYOD) student who thinks that LAUNCH has been helpful in adjusting to the all virtual environment and learning about new applications.

“I think last year, when I was a freshman, I really needed some guidance for Office 365 and Schoology because it’s one of the first things I’m being exposed to,” Shu said. “It’s a very good resource for kids to have during this time as everything is basically virtual right now.” 

Students are grateful toward the district for putting time and effort into helping them find fast and easy solutions to technology problems.

“I really appreciate the school giving us LAUNCH. It’s a really good hub of information (where) a lot of students can look for answers,” Shu said. 

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