Hammocks Middle School students give virtual tech support to classmates, teachers

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - A tech team comprised of students from a South Florida middle school is making sure their classmates and teachers are able to remain engaged and online.

With school campuses officially closed for the rest of the school year, students are remotely learning at home, using group video chat programs like Zoom.

But with new technology comes new problems, and that’s where the Tiger Tech team steps in to help.

“They are a class at Hammocks Middle School Academy of Legal Studies, and they support the iPad program,” said teacher Beatriz Llano-Scherker, “so they support their fellow students, they support teachers, they provide workshops for the teachers, they provide one-on-one assistance.”

Before the coronavirus pandemic forced everyone into social distancing, the students would help out teachers at Hammocks Middle School in fixing any tech-related issues that would arise.

They’ve since shifted their talents online and are currently helping those in need virtually.

“We help them through Zoom, and if they need anything, we chime in and help them,” said a member of Tiger Tech.

The technical whizzes used to be called upon a couple times a week, but now they’re needed several times throughout the day.

“When we went to distance learning full time throughout the entire school, and district, of course, it became an immediate need … to really put the students to the test,” said a teacher.

Hammocks was one of five schools in South Florida selected for the Verizon Innovative Learning program, which provides free technology, internet access and hands-on learning for underserved students.

The initiative gives them an advantage for the unprecedented reality they’re living in now.

“Who would’ve thought we were going to be in the middle of a pandemic and having to deal with distance learning?” said an official with Hammocks Middle School.

Students, teachers and parents are doing what they can, making sure everyone succeeds until life returns to normal.

“It really is a team effort, a community effort. There’s no sole person who is making it happen,” said Llano-Scherker. “We’re all working together to make it happen.”

The Tiger Tech team plans to meet twice a week and are constantly updating how they can best help the more than 600 students who now rely on technology to learn more than ever.

Anyone with questions and concerns about the coronavirus can call the Florida Department of Health’s 24-hour hotline at 1-866-779-6121.

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