By Paula Ebben

BURLINGTON (CBS) — When an app won’t work or an iPad won’t connect to the network, the students at Burlington High School are the first ones to turn to.

“I enjoy helping students out,” said Burlington High senior Josh Boulos. “It’s really important to have a lot of knowledge about technology,” agreed senior Chandler Joyce.

“It’s very, very real world,” says Jenn Scheiffer, the school’s Mobile Learning Coach, “It’s practical experience that they are developing.”

The student-run help desk started in 2011 when every kid was first assigned an iPad at the school.

Burlington High School students work at the help desk. (WBZ-TV)

Burlington High School students work at the help desk. (WBZ-TV)

“We figured why not leverage the people who are really experts at these kinds of things, so we enlisted students,” Burlington High Principal Mark Sullivan told WBZ-TV.

While troubleshooting is still a main goal of the help desk, the students are also testing out new apps, teaching new skills, and finding ways to integrate technology into the classroom.

“Teachers here really embrace the fact they can get help from students,” Scheiffer says.

Each team member also runs a blog. This is a chance for the students to explore their own digital interests.

“This model has allowed students to find their voice and know how to assert it,” says senior Timmy Sullivan.

That strong voice, of students guiding their own learning, has led many other schools to start up their own versions of student run technology teams.

“It’s the work of the kids, really, that is getting that recognition and that distinction and that makes me very proud,” Scheiffer said with a smile.

Anyone can visit the Burlington Help Desk blog to learn about iMovie, TweetDeck and other programs. It’s a virtual classroom creating real-world confidence.

“By graduation, I hope to be able to help any problem and any student that comes my way,” said freshman Jillian Peluso.

And senior Timmy Sullivan says he’s ready for graduation.

“It’s definitely prepared me because I’m confident as a student addressing any type of issue,” he said.

Paula Ebben

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