I'm wondering what schools are doing about supporting technology that
educators are receiving when they take college classes, professional
development and go to conferences? It is always nice to get "free"
equipment, but what happens when the camera stops working, the projector
gets a short in the custom cable, the ipod battery fails or the laptop
boots to a blue screen of death? Are these "free" devices dropped off
with the tech support team, with an admonition to get them repaired
before the next class so the lesson (which is planned around the device)
One of the resources that is limiting what we can do with technology at
St Albans City School is technical support. If the teachers can't count
on their technology working they can't integrate it into their work with
the kids. Since I started there 2+ years ago we have gone from 300
computers to 500 computers and the amount of student hours using
technology has increased 10 fold (thanks to Lucie's efforts). With this
has come an increase in the amount of tech support that people have
needed. However, there has been no increase in tech personnel. So we
work smarter. This includes no "one offs" allowed. These one of a kind
devices are more difficult because we don't understand them, we don't
have parts and in the case of computers we don't have images, which are
integral to our supporting a large number of machines configured so the
end user has the greatest degree of flexibility and autonomy.
What do you do when someone comes back from a conference or a class with
a laptop that you've never seen before, with an operating system you
know won't work with your network? How do you support it when it gets
an incurable virus and the person who must have it to teach their next
lesson looks at you blankly when you ask for the recovery CD? How do
you schedule in figuring out the document camera that can't resolve
anything if the room lights are on? What about the camera that you've
never seen before that suddenly stops working?
I know Rita and I would be willing to work on these things in our spare
time. The problem is there is precious little spare time. Can we tell
people that this free equipment can not be repaired as quickly as the
equipment we specify? In effect is it OK to say free equipment can not
be mission critical? Can we ask the organizations that give out this
equipment to take some responsibility for it once it has left the
conference? Maybe then they would see the advantage to a 3 year warranty!
Am I just being ungrateful?
Franklin Central SU