Monday, December 07, 2015

The Saber Cybers: A Student Driven Tech Club

The Saber Cybers: A Student Driven Tech Club

Student engagement, success skills, authentic experiences, PBL, product ownership. These buzzwords are tossed around a lot lately, but what do they actually look like? The Saber Cyber Tech Club thinks we've found some of the answers!

You might be asking just who and what is this Saber Cyber Tech Club? We're a newly formed technology oriented club at Legacy High School that partners directly with the Legacy Learning Commons (library). We have one goal - empower students with the ability to choose a direction and run with it, all while providing valuable community services back to Legacy and providing real world experiences with technology to the students as well.

What exactly are these real world experiences though?

The Saber Cyber members are responsible for keeping the 1:1 Chromebooks at Legacy in working order. They perform all hardware repairs, warranty submissions, report any misuse they see and coach fellow students and teachers on useage, maintenance, best practices, etc. The real world experience connection doesn't just come from repairing devices; however, the true connection to real world experiences happens when students become responsible for the process and procedures. Where do you put repaired Chromebooks vs. damaged ones? Parts storage? Tracking progress and billing for damage? All of these questions and more have been worked through by the Saber Cyber students, but it hasn't all been perfect! Every step of the way has been fraught with success and failure points...however those are the experiences that we all learn from and what really matters!

Chromebook management is just the tip of the Saber's nose though. The Saber Cyber members manage the 3D printing process as well. They made a pricing model for the 3D printer which bills students and teachers based on grams of materials used plus a service fee to help fund the club. They handle the request queue, manipulate the print jobs and, ultimately, print the 3D object out.

The list of projects and ways the Saber Cybers are adding value to the community while practicing success skills is very long to say the least! Need an announcement slide made and put on the TVs? How about help using a device or resource? Need help setting up technology for presentations, community events, etc? The Saber Cybers are just a form submission away!

But we're not all about hard work! Teachers are always trying to make learning fun, interesting and engaging yet valuable at the same time. We're no different! We fully embrace and encourage the club members to explore technology and to create something fun and exciting. Take a couple of the latest projects from club members, The GRB and The Piano Stairs. Both were independent projects proposed by, built by, and implemented by the Saber Cyber students.

The GRB is a custom Raspberry PI computer where they coded the OS and drivers for the touch keyboard/trackpad, LCD touchscreen and external battery. The next step in the build is to finish the 3D printed case for the device so it can be carried and used everywhere.

The piano steps was proposed based on making a banana keyboard with the makey makey kits. "Why not make the piano steps from the movie Big" a few students in the club said. Well, why not? So it happened. After a couple weeks of trial and error with different materials, devices, and methods of playing the music they came up with a solution that worked. One evening a couple students ran wires, programmed makey makeys and arduinos, hooked up speakers and eventually walked away smiling. Not because it worked right away, but because of the journey, successes and failures, and ultimately the product they produced was something they could be proud of. The next day the Legacy populous couldn't quit talking about and using the steps!

The best part about all of this? It happened in one semester! The next best part? The second semester is shaping up to be better than the first! Five of our members are traveling to the TIES conference in Minneapolis to present on their unique experiences in the club. The club has recently been in contact with other districts like Grand Forks to give a collaborative presentation at the upcoming spring NDATL. We were also contacted by the girls basketball and volleyball booster clubs for Legacy. We signed a contract with to manage their website content, player introduction presentation and pump-up video. All of the incoming funds go directly to the club so we can buy more technology items, go on field trips, pay for guest speakers, etc. Our Legacy Saber Cyber podcast will also be going live in the second semester and will be used as a way to broadcast messages from the community, teachers, students, other clubs, etc. The students are also hoping to get an official website going where we can post news, events, projects, etc.

Check out the Saber Cyber blog on -->Saber Cyber tab
Contact the Saber Cybers using our form: