Bill Gates often maintains that while technology is good, good teachers are better.
Microsoft’s founder and current philanthropist has made both tech and education priorities and has helped stimulate interest in teachers and entire schools wanting to innovate and improve the classroom experience. This push has resulted in more teachers wanting to try new tech, and greater support from their districts to make it happen.
This support can take the form of new hardware, software, and general infrastructure, plus trained people to keep it all working. Districts are also finding that this support can go far beyond the classroom and improve other areas of operations.
A centralized Help Desk, for instance, can improve efficiencies in many departments.
- General IT support. Have a problem? Just call one number or send one email. An automated help desk can receive the message and send a confirmation notice. Then a manager/dispatcher can quickly send the right person to take care of the problem. In larger districts, members of the IT team could already be deployed to different neighborhoods so they won’t have to go far.
- The same system can be used to put facilities teams where they need to be. While the staff at each school will have the independence to identify problem areas – the cafeteria after a food fight for instance – they can also rely on the help desk to keep track of other projects, show the status of work orders and create a schedule for ongoing tasks like monthly or annual repairs.
- Knowledge base. Institutions such as older school systems have such an extensive oral history and unofficial procedures that “have always been that way.” Sometimes this works adequately, but other times it can create inefficiencies and continue old habits. Creating a centralized place for procedures can give employees the opportunity to document reliable information. Managers can adjust privileges so only IT people can access it and read about different upgrades to different workstations over the years. Or teachers can have access to certain areas, and they can read up on how to make basic fixes themselves or the basics of accessing a local server.
- Along with keeping track of the condition of all district-owned vehicles, a help desk can create schedules for maintenance and service all of them, track the history of every vehicle, and even see what projects different employees are currently working on. It can also make it easy for team members to send and receive messages from anywhere, rather than everyone picking up orders at the bus barn, the maintenance shop, or the district office. Data can be sent to mobile devices, which makes it simple or an employee to know which vehicle to work on next, rather than coming back and asking for another assignment.
Today’s technology has certainly created some extraordinary classroom tools. But schools and districts can also benefit from improved automation. For suggestions how to create a help desk solution for your school system, please contact GroupLink.