Even though Chrome Depot isn't yet officially open at Canal Winchester High School, six students already are using their technology skills to help the district prepare nearly 2,000 Chromebooks for the start of classes in August.
Technology supervisor John-Paul Hoffman said the district used to hire college students or students working toward an IT degree during the summer. With the advent last year of the Cisco Academy at the high school to teach IT courses, officials decided to see if current CWHS students were interested in a summer internship program.
Morgan Adams, Christopher Darling, Brandon Koons, Jordan Odenthal, Colton Parker and Kobe White, who will be seniors, filled out applications and were hired June 5.
These students work in three-person teams for eight hours on their assigned days twice a week. They are paid $10.50 per hour and will work for the district through Aug. 10.
Canal Winchester schools will be rolling out a 1-to-1 Chromebook initiative and will provide students in grades 6-12 with Chromebook laptop computers to use during the school year.
"The idea is that we are extending the classroom beyond the school day and beyond the four walls and giving students access to resources that they otherwise might not have access to," Hoffman said.
The district already had about 1,000 devices on classroom carts that needed checked, cleaned up and updated -- work that was assigned to the student interns.
"They updated the operating system on the machines to make sure they had the current operating system for the Chromebooks and they cleaned them and checked them to make sure there weren't any damages," Hoffman said.
"Anything that was damaged, they catalogued it and they are getting ready to go through and do repair work that needs to be done on them before we do our full distribution out to students," he said.
The district purchased an additional 1,000 Chromebooks in order to have enough for the 1-to-1 program.
"Those had to be unboxed, updated to the current software, and each one had to be registered and put under our network," White said.
Hoffman said technology department personnel showed the students what was expected of them.
"They have actually been getting things done faster than we expected them, so it's been a good thing," he said.
Koons said all the interns participated in Cisco Academy and all are interested in IT careers and certifications, so the classes they have already had in problem-solving have really helped them with their summer jobs.
"Coming in, we had to do a lot of problem-solving with the Chromebooks to identify if something was wrong so we could fix them later down the line before we distribute them," Koons said.
"Honestly, Chromebooks aren't really complicated machines -- they're not like normal PCs, so there isn't too much that can go wrong with them."
He said the internship has helped give him an idea about what he can expect going into college and the IT field.
The internship has also taught White a bit more about how much more goes into working with the infrastructure.
"There's just a lot of little things you don't think about -- a lot of more repetitive tasks you have to do with the Chromebook that kind of comes to fruition," he said.
Once school begins in August, all the interns and three other students will work in the Chrome Depot at the high school, a room set aside that is designed to be the first line of defense in assisting students with any Chromebook issues.
These students will also take an online technology course geared toward device support and troubleshooting. Instead of being paid for their Chrome Depot service, students will earn a half-credit for the semester of work.
If students are not able to fix a Chromebook problem, they will log the issue and contact a technician to take over the repairs.
They will also help their peers who are having trouble using the technology.
"Personally, I like helping people with issues and troubleshooting with the devices," White said. "We'll also be making instructional videos on how to do certain tasks on the Chromebooks that the students will be able to access."
Eventually, Hoffman said, the district would like to expand the Chrome Depot program to provide technology support to middle school students.
"Coming in, we had to do a lot of problem-solving with the Chromebooks to identify if something was wrong so we could fix them later down the line before we distribute them."
-- BRANDON KOONS
CWHS student IT intern