Technical Support

Rapid changes in the ways technology is used for learning require an approach to technology support that reduces downtime and provides a fast, consistent, reliable experience for administrators, educators and students. The most effective tech support models are constructed directly from a high quality technology planning process that integrates technology with other school-wide support goals.
Successful districts have found it valuable to think broadly about the best overall approach to meet support needs comprehensively before establishing specific details that define what support will be provided to whom and by whom. While no two districts provide exactly the same combination of tech support products and services to their users, all have defined core elements comprising “tech support” that contribute to successfully meeting their local needs. The following questions have helped districts define, plan for, and implement the core components of tech support.

Approaches

Once the central components of tech support have been identified, districts can begin to define where tech support will be based, the ways that help tickets will flow through the service pathway, and how tech support will be staffed. Tech support typically begins with a help desk or service desk, but also can include service-level agreements with various providers, and both live and media-delivered face-to-face training and online support, school-based/school employees, student tech support teams, and tech support cooperatives. If there is a lot of demand, the “front line” may spend much of its time dispatching tickets to other people instead of trying to solve specific problems. If there is less demand and a highly skilled and knowledgeable person taking the first request, many of the requests may be able to be handled immediately. Regular monitoring of tech support implementation and impact can provide valuable insight about how teachers and students use technology, as well as barriers to use.

Help Desk

In House Support

Service Level agreements

Many schools and districts currently include some level of service plan with providers when completing their equipment purchasing contracts. Considerations related to level of support, costs and long-term sustainability should be reviewed when considering incorporating the service level agreements to equipment purchasing contracts.

Tech Support  Cooperatives

Key Questions

  • What are the goals of the tech support team? Are those goals, including priorities, defined and publicized for all users?
  • How will requests be initiated and what is the process for prioritization?
  • What are the business hours of tech support, and the policies for nights/weekends/summer?
  • How often will routine maintenance occur? How will you communicate this downtime to users?
  • How will you deploy tech support staff to different campuses?
  • What metrics and indicators for tech support success will the district use to help determine cost effectiveness and customer satisfaction with current and future setups?

From the Field

Kuna Middle School’s tier one support is provided by students. An initial cadre of students were trained and then they train other students to help provide technology support. Based on experiences at the local high school, educators have found this student support system to be effective in quickly addressing tech support issues and providing students the experience to support their peers.. Learn more.

Resources

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