Develop a Student Led Genius Bar – Lessons from Successful BYOD Roll-Outs

One of the many concerns we’ve heard over the last 18 months from teachers and schools considering moving to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) roll-out has related to concerns around supporting a wider range of devices and the potential impact on the use of time in a classroom, transitioning it from teaching & learning to device troubleshooting.

What if a student brings their own device and then experiences technical difficulties?

Does the teacher then need to spent time troubleshooting with the student (because otherwise they may be unable to complete the activities being explored in the class)?

What happens if it’s a device a teacher isn’t familiar with (which is likely given the breadth of available devices)?

From working with a number of schools who have successfully implemented a BYOD strategy, one of the most innovative ways we’ve seen to deal with these concerns is the development of a student-led Genius Bar.

The Student-Led Genius Bar

© Jean-SŽbastien Zanchi

Apple Stores have Genius Bars (like the one above) which are essentially Apple’s in person Support Desks. The premise behind these Genius Bars is to enable Apple whiz’s (or as Apple calls them Genius’s) to help customers with any technical difficulties they may be having with their Apple device.

And this is a strategy that you can apply in your school to ensure a smooth BYOD roll-out – one that doesn’t end up with you as a teacher spending all of your time troubleshooting technical difficulties students are having.

How to Implement a Student-Led Genius Bar

At your school, the reality will often be that your students know more about their devices than you.

Additionally, there will generally always be students who all the other students look up to as the technology expert and ask for help.

A great way therefore to give your students more ownership of their learning experience, encouraging them to work collaboratively and to enable them to take responsibility for their devices is to create your own Genius Bar space at school and make it available for your technology savvy students to run.

For example, the Genius Bar might be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday during lunchtimes. If any students are having any technical difficulties with their devices they can bring it to the designated Genius Bar space to ask other technology savvy students for help and guidance on solving their challenges.

Students can volunteer to run the Genius Bar and they can be rotated through each of the days (and you can even get them to create and manage their own schedule/shifts – teaching them real world skills relating to work and employment!)

What might this space look like?

Here are a couple of great examples of spaces set up as Student-Led Genius Bars – hopefully it provides you with some inspiration for you own!

genius bar school

genius bar