We need help & support, don't we?

    "With the introduction of new hardware and increased demands on support staff comes the vital question: How will this help us teach?"  Richard M. Beattie

    Inevitably, this question is firstly asked by not any of the teachers, but someone who is technologist.

    During our technology integration we need:
  • Resources and ideas for establishing a support system and tracking maintenance incidents and support calls.
  • Suggestions for ensuring quality technical support and through maintenance.
  • Understanding the need to include maintenance and support in new technology purchases, including personnel resources.

Because we now have our equipment, we should ask ourselves to the following key:
  1. Are resources and processes in place to maintain school technology?
  2. Are personnel available to provide technical support?

Defining Maintenance and Support for Deeper Understanding

    Maintenance means preventive, diagnostic, updating, replacement, and repair procedures that a school or district has in place. Maintenance can be provided either by persons who are part of the school system or through an outsourced contract. It includes documenting trends and patterns in the use of applications or equipment. Specific maintenance items might include:
  • periodic replacement of parts and renewal of consumable supplies;
  • repair or replacement of faulty components;
  • periodic inspection and cleaning of equipment;
  • updating or upgrading hardware and software, including installing new operating system versions;
  • adding or deleting users from a system, or modifying user rights and properties;
  • periodic backup of stored files on a school network;
  • monitoring the condition and functionality of networks and equipment, including testing web site accesses and links; and
  • installing and removing equipment and applications

    The term support refers to actions taken on behalf of users rather than to actions taken on equipment and systems. Support denotes activities that keep users working or help users improve the ways they work. Included under support might be such items as:

  • help desks and other forms of putting a person in touch with another person to resolve a problem or provide advice;
  • automated information systems, such as searchable frequently-asked-question (FAQ) databases or newsletters;
  • initial training and familiarization tours for equipment and software, whether automated or conducted by a human;
  • instructional and curriculum integration support, usually through observation and personal interaction between a teacher and a technology coordinator; and
  • technology integration support for administrative applications, usually conducted through specialized consultants or software/systems vendors.
    As with maintenance, support can be delivered through a variety of mechanisms, including in-house technology specialists, external volunteers, or outsourced contracts.

    In order to investigate Maintenance and Support; we should consider importance of trained personnel and technical assistance.

  • http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/tech_schools/chapter5.asp