ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – In the age of technology, parents are used to having their kids teach them how to use a smart phone or a new device. At an Albuquerque elementary school, some students are teaching their classmates and teachers about technology.
A group of fourth and fifth graders from Petroglyph Elementary in northwest Albuquerque are doing things with technology that a lot of adults struggle with.
“We go around the school and help people with technology,” explained James Yan. The fifth-grader is one of 23 ‘SWAT’ members, which stands for Students Who Advance Technology.
The group is part of a bigger program, GenYes, within Albuquerque Public Schools to incorporate technology in education.
“They’re naturally curious, and when they get curious, how nice to put something in their hands that’s gonna get them engaged in the classroom,” explained Paul Romero, Chief Technology Officer for Albuquerque Public Schools.
Yan, 11, demonstrated for KRQE News 13 a Star Wars themed game he created on the computer using code.
Kids also take what they learn in SWAT to teach younger students in other classrooms.
Tuesday, they helped third-graders use Ipads to create virtual presentations for their artwork. The students designed avatars and recorded their own reports on famous paintings.
Ms. Tia Turner spearheads the technology-based classes at Petroglyph. “We find that they’re more motivated to do their classwork and come to school, because they’re using the technology,” Turner explained.
The students also serve as tech support for teachers. Kids make sure sure software is up-to-date, they troubleshoot computer problems, even educate classmates on how to use high-tech devices.
Fourth-grader Eli Salazar is somewhat of a 3D printing expert. “You can make your own designs,” Salazar showed off a box of objects he and his classmates designed first on a laptop, then transferred to the 3D printer.
Students design some pretty cool stuff, including a detailed dragon figurine, and watch their creations come to life. Tuesday, the class was printing a 3D bracelet.
“It’s just fun,” said Ava Martinez, a fourth grader who’s learning from classmates. “Other schools don’t have this so you’re just so grateful that your school is one of those schools that has it.”
Like her peers, Martinez is inspired by technology. “I wanna be a graphic designer at Pixar,” she told KRQE News 13. “It’s really good having this head start at a very young age,” she added.
Students said they love teaching and learning from each other. Turner said her kids also make tutorial videos, covering anything from how to take a screenshot, to how to edit videos.
In 2014, Petroglyph Elementary won $10,000 from Code.org, a site that teaches kids about programming. The school used the money for technology based teaching tools, like the iPads and 3D printer.