Faham Tak | Staff Writer

Innovation isn’t always easy.

Activating links, locating work in Google Drive and uploading files to Schoology. These are common tasks that many students struggle with. School feels impossible to students who struggle to adapt to new and everchanging technology. For them, it is easy to fall behind in class which can lead to complications in learning.

Mason Middle School is restarting its solution from last year. The Innovation Lab is an internship which addresses technology and how it can be used more efficiently. Students work on projects in the media center with their main goal being to provide technological help. The Innovation Lab is also an internship at Mason High School. Innovative learning coach Randy Doughman brought the idea to MMS after observing other schools that have started their own Innovation Lab.

“We saw it up last year; it was just with all the new devices,” Doughman said. “All the students having the Chromebooks just allowing the students somewhere to go if they had issues, and maybe it will help them to use the Chromebook. We just needed bodies to help lead through that and see what kind of issues we had, to see how we could help them.”

There are a number of kids who already know how to operate the Chromebook, and there are kids who are having technology problems. For many new seventh graders, it may be hard to use to use Chromebooks more than they used paper. For many eighth graders, it may be Schoology in which they struggle with, or it may be with other programs. Another Innovative Learning Coach, Dan Little is one who leads students for the entire year.

“You will have two different learning experiences going on: one is the kids who are supporting others, and (the other is the) kids who are actually being supported,” Little said. “The kids receiving support are obviously going to learn a lot of the technology skills and learn to identify some problems of their own so that they don’t need to come back-to-back. The students who are leading that are going to learn a lot of interpersonal communication, problem solving skills, how to work with others and how to support other people, all of those are great things, no matter what they end up doing in life, those are all great skills.”

While the teachers know what to do, the students should know what to do and what will they enjoy, what they will know about technology in the future. Riley Johansen has been a student leader of the lab since it started and said students have a bigger role in the lab than they think.

“It is really cool just because I’m able to help people to understand the technology, but then helping other people helps you understand it more,” Johansen said. “It’s a great thing, to get you hands dirty, and figure out stuff along the way. I enjoyed how we weren’t just a ‘Help Desk.’ We had to define that it wasn’t, because the point is, if you had a problem, we wanted to teach you how to fix that problem, so that you can teach others. It is just kinda like a web, it hits one spot, and then they can help another and it just keeps going.”