Working in Education: You're Firing the Wrong People!

Technical Support for Schools

January 24, 2018 by Daniele A

See if this has happened to your school: Budgets have to be cut, and the IT department is asked to share in the pain. But what positions do you cut in IT? Do you cut the network and server support staff, the people that keep the servers and networks running? Or do you cut the teacher-focused instructional technology people.

In my experience, it’s the Instructional Technology people who get cut more often than not. And the way I look at it, schools are cutting the wrong people!

How do I know that? Because All Covered is always asked if we can remotely support teachers. And the answer is “no”. The fact of the matter is the technology tools, techniques and software that teachers use in classrooms just vary too much from school-to-school for our staff to know all of it. We’re just not that good. And we are REALLY good.

To see what we would be up against, all you have to do is go to a major Education trade show and see how many different teaching tools are available. And how differently they all work from one another. Each school has a selection of 5-to-15 favorite applications and tools. And no group of 5-to-15 is the same. There are literally thousands of possibilities. We can’t know them all. And we can’t impose our list of standardized favorites on any particular school.

In our opinion, the LAST people that should be cut from IT departments in schools are the school-based instructional technology experts. The reason? School-based instructional technology specialists are uniquely positioned to be familiar with all the tools teachers use in a particular institution. And they can support the teachers in their everyday classroom uses. Not just how to use the tools, but how to TEACH with them.

Remember, the most important relationship in a school is the relationship between students and teachers. So shouldn’t the most important aspect of Information Technology at a School be supporting those teachers? We think so. And we think the best way to support teachers in their use of technology is to have school-based support specialists at the ready.

In contrast, network and server support is much more generic. There are a very limited number of network equipment vendors. There are limited number of server vendors. And there is a limited number of network operating systems and support tools. Finally, all network equipment available today is designed to be managed remotely.

So, unlike instructional technology support, network and infrastructure support is relatively easy to outsource. All Covered has hundreds of network and server engineers that do nothing but network and server support for our customers. Including many school districts. There is no question we can support your institution’s network infrastructure.

In our view, the most effective way to support school technology is through a blend of school-based and remote assets comprised of two main elements:

  1.  Instructional Technology support specialists who are dedicated to the school, its teachers, and the tools the teachers use every day in the classroom. These can be school employees or they can be full time employees of All Covered who have spent time in the classroom. Either way, they need to be dedicated to one school or district and be expert in how to teach with the school’s chosen technology tools.
  2.  A professional network and server support organization that can remotely monitor the health of the devices, provide help desk support for administrators and give advice about how to make sure the network’s performance matches up with the mission of the school.

 If you’re faced with budget issues (or even if you’re not), All Covered can draw up a cost-effective support plan for all your technology. Give us a call.