I know, it’s been 2 months. Since then, I should’ve shared about our Skype session with the band Alma Desnuda through Rock Our World. And how using the Doceri GoodPoint Stylus is going. And how Spotify has simplified and complicated music in my classroom. But this post is focused on MOUSE Squad.
For those of you who don’t know, MOUSE Squad is a student tech program whose goal is create student leaders who are adept at solving problems on teachers’ computers and supporting the tech staff in a school or district. In some schools this squad is during school, in some it’s after school. For us, we meet for an hour after school twice a week (no, not during contract hours and no, I don’t receive any stipend/funds by leading this program) but usually we are so focused on our work that we will go beyond the scheduled hour.
Belle Haven has had a MOUSE Squad for about 4 years and has gone through many iterations. First, the open-to-all we-don’t-really-know-what-we’re-doing half year to start out. Students learned a lot and we had some good discussions, but we couldn’t really develop. Then we had a super-star group. I mean, we had a student who taught me about Edubuntu. They were four members strong. We missed them all when they went to high school the next year and we had to start all over.
But this group, who were new to computers last winter, remind me a lot of the SF Giants last year. While we struggled along last year, learning and relearning some of the basics, this rag-tag group really pulled everything together this fall when we needed them. They have shown us more than we could have expected. So much so that they won the national MOUSE Squad September MicroProject (link to the post here).
In order to recruit new members and win the MicroProject, the squad, all six of them, over the course of two weeks (most of it in one day), created GoAnimate videos (link), uploaded our old photos to Picasa (link) and videos to YouTube (link), created a Weebly connecting all of them together (link), and made posters (with a QR code link to one of the animations). It’s all detailed out on our MOUSE Squad blog (link).
If you didn’t take the time to check out all those links, I understand. They did a lot. And today they did even more. Today, we had our MOUSE Squad orientation for all prospective members and had more students than ever. Perhaps it was the posters. Perhaps it was the award-winning project the squad just completed. Perhaps it’s our partnership with Facebook. But I think it’s because of the excitement the current squad members show.
The current members got up there, in front of a lot of their peers, and shared about the great things about MOUSE Squad: the projects, the learning, the ability to help others, the training you have for future careers, the credit you might be able to work toward in high school, and so much more. They shared the site and videos they’ve created, and most of all, shared that excitement.
Of course, we, the adults, had to go up there and talk about the expectations and professionalism required, but the squad handled most of the job. The current squad members then each started to lead a group of newbies (or rookies?) in the October MicroProject, focused on making a spooky radio story (link).
The crazy thing about today? Not that the squad did such a fantastic job, but that we didn’t have enough chairs to seat everyone who was interested. How many classes or organizations are standing-room-only and have students lined up 30 minutes before the door opens?