Starting with simple, common repairs
Once students enter the TSI program, they begin learning how to do simple repairs, such as replacing cracked screens and broken hinges. These common repairs can often be done immediately, which means students, teachers, and parents who bring in Chromebooks can get their devices back in about 10 minutes.
For more complex repair jobs, students simply swap the broken device for a Chromebook from TSI’s pool of previously repaired devices. “That’s the beauty of Chromebooks,” says Sponsler, since students and teachers can simply log in and access Workspace and other apps no matter which Chromebook they’re using. The bottom line is that visitors to the TSI front desk always leave relatively quickly with a completely operational Chromebook.
The students’ training is guided by Sponsler as well as a teaching assistant—who, during the 2021 school year, happens to be a former TSI student. After graduating from Jenks High School and receiving his IT certifications from the Tulsa Technology Center, the student returned as the TA for the TSI program. The TA is always at the TSI high school location during its open hours—typically 8:30am to 4pm on school days. Sponsler is usually at the TSI location all day herself, ensuring that the students working there, usually six at a time, get the guidance they need.
To track repairs and to help students visualize how their progress in their IT repair knowledge, Sponsler added a large “mastery board”: a whiteboard with magnets, listing the names of student interns, types of repairs, and Chromebook models in use in the district (such as ASUS, HP, and Lenovo). “Instead of guessing who’s done which repairs, you have the board that helps students achieve mastery,” Sponsler says. “It motivates students to keep learning. And when someone comes to us with a problem, we can look at the board and see who can do the job.”