The ten commandments of school tech support
- Thou shalt test the fix.
- Thou shalt talk to actual students and teachers and make time to watch how technology works during actual class time, not just when it’s quiet.
- Thou shalt not make fun of the tech skills of teachers or students, nor allow anyone else in the tech department to make disparaging remarks about them.
- Closing trouble tickets shalt not be thine highest calling; thou shalt strive to continually make the learning environment better.
- Thou shalt not elevate the system above the users.
- The network will be never be perfect. Learning is messy. Get thyself over it.
- When teaching someone a new skill, keep thy hands off the mouse.
- Thou shalt listen to requests with an open mind and respond in plain English.
- Blocking shall be controlled by educators, not filtering companies. Thy job is to enable learning, not enforce behavior.
- Thou shalt include students and teachers in decision-making about technology purchases and policy. Their interest is not an affront to your professionalism.
24 Replies to “Ten commandments of school tech support”
But #7 is so hard! =)
Hands off the mouse! (maybe your kids could do a video to the tune of “Pants on the Ground”)
I love numbers 8, 9 and 10. I feel that there is often a foreign language barrier between the tech department and the teachers. I need to act as the translator! I also believe it is our job to teach the kids how to navigate the internet in a safe manner. You know if they can’t get on youtube at school, they’re going to access it on their phone, at home, etc. Let’s teach them how to filter their own content!
L-O-V-E your list. Esp. #9 . . . how to move forward in a district that often feels PARALYZED by fear? . . . sigh . . .
I will be forwarding these on – but unfortunately not to our tech guy, just to another sympathetic colleague.
I agree with Russ – #7 is SOOOOOO hard
A response from the school tech support.
1. This means that teachers need to expect to work with IT to shape a viable fix. Chances are it will be time consuming and there will be a good bit of trial and error.
2. We do, just remember the school is not home. We need to accommodate a classroom worth of users times the number of computer classrooms simultaneously. We also do have other parts to our job, we can only make it to a classroom when there is time available.
3. We won’t pick on you if you don’t pick on us. Yes, we do know what you say about us.
4. We’re IT people, we do computers and electronics not necessarily learning environments. We try, but don’t expect exceptional things without some help.
5. We do the system, you educate kids. We don’t read minds, if you have a problem, talk to us. We will try to accommodate you, but we need to keep things working well for all users, not just you.
6. Agreed, as educators, you need to have a plan B for when the network may not be cooperating. Trust me, we didn’t break it just to make sure you have a bad day.
7. We’re happy to teach, don’t expect us to do everything tech for you.
8. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. We have found that people don’t like when we dumb things down too much. You expect the kids to ask if they don’t get it, we expect the same from you.
9. Yes, but far too many of you think of the filter as a safety net that will prevent kids from finding the “bad stuff”. Trust me, they do it anyway, when your not looking. We don’t like filters any more than you do, but CIPA forces us to have a filter. Unless you want to spend all day digging through logs looking at sites, we have to leave some of it up to a filtering company.
10. Gladly, then you will realize what’s involved in making things happen.
RIGHT ON, SYLVIA!!!!
These comments are SO TRUE!!! It is so easy to get caught up in making the system work that sometimes we forget that we are doing our jobs for the people, not the machines.
This is a gentle reminder of some of the things we need to do to make us more effective.
Thanks to Mike Moore for the reminder that this is a two-way street!
1 – thou shalt test the fix. I’d like to reword it to say
1 – thou shalt share the learning.
in other words:
1A. Thou shalt talk with the teacher/student/administrator (user) so that you fully understand the problem.
1B. Thou shalt talk out loud (to the user) as you think your way through the solution to the problem.
1C. Thou shalt give the mouse back, and make sure the user is back in the saddle.
(i.e. share the learning!!!)
You have in house tech support in your school-not a teacher in their spare time????
I shared this with our Tech Department. So of these are so true as we sometimes forget who we are serving.
In my experience every single one of these 10 commandments is recognised and adhered to in the private sector, I can’t even decide which one I find the need for most shocking!
Back in 1993 the IT department I worked in, in the world HQ of a multinational company in the financial sector, took a good look at itself. There followed a year of transition where we totally re-evaluated our position and transformed ourselves from the deliverer and protector of all things IT to a customer focussed support service. The very notion that we all worked for the same company yet could position ourselves as customers and service providers was totally alien to us. By the end of an intense year our whole ethos had evolved from “We can’t do that” to “Is that what the customer asked for?” It was a huge change for our customers too of course, often forcing them to balance quality with timescales and choose between the two.
But we realised it was not viable to continue under the delusion that our position was sacrosanct, the company could outsource the delivery of services any-damn-where it liked. If school food, school cleaning and school maintenance can be put out to tender then I guess IT can too?
I once interviewed for a job in a council’s education IT department. I walked out after 5 minutes. It took me that long to figure out it was not an environment I would be happy working in. It was like stepping through a warp in time back to the 80s.
What’s needed is someone at LA level who has the power to bring education and IT together and who understands how at least one the two works. At the moment it strikes me there’s a left hand, a right hand and a blindfold, two reporting chains that don’t cross paths until it’s too late.
I started to write a response, but it got long, so I posted it to my own blog: http://edtechsandyk.blogspot.com/2010/02/educators-technical-folks-should-play.html
Thank you for this post and the conversation is has created. 🙂
No. 7 is the reason i never buy pants without pockets. as soon as i want to touch the mouse i put my hands in my pockets. I love the list. I am in a unique situation where I function as both. This is good for both sides.
I LOVED this list and posted it in my tech office.
This is a pretty good list.
I am sending these to all my tech staff and integrators right now!