Authentic Learning through Applecore

AppleCore is Wilmington Friends’ student IT support team. Members volunteer study hall time to work at the help desk–“The Orchard”–as the first level of tech support for our 1:1 laptop program (recently recognized as an Apple Distinguished Program).

“When they announced that we were going with the 1:1, a lot of my friends were nervous. I joined because I was a little interested in technology, but mostly I wanted to be able to help my friends,” says student Kerry S.

AppleCore was established three years ago. The group piloted the 1:1 program–testing the strength of the school’s wifi and identifying potential user issues–and created our “Driver’s Manual,” a guide to computer care, skills, and policies. “These students helped lead us to the decision to become a 1:1 school as they evaluated input from their classmates and helped to answer questions and get everyone comfortable using these new tools,” says Director of Technology Gregg Miller.

The summer after piloting the program, AppleCore members staffed the laptop deployment, an effort that included collecting/packing used equipment, inventorying/configuring new equipment, and transferring files. Perhaps the most helpful (and challenging!) task for AppleCore was the laptop distribution to more than 500 students. AppleCore members worked with each student ensuring that everyone left the orientation able to login and navigate their laptops.

Since deployment, Applecore has been the foundation of our technical support for the laptop program. The group meets once in each seven-day cycle to discuss trends and best practices, and maintains a guide with troubleshooting techniques. “AppleCore kids get an authentic learning experience when doing tech support,” Miller says. “They also fine-tune their communication skills, working with both peers and teachers.”

Does your school do something similar?

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