Education and IT go hand in hand, but everything that happens in between is what can make the difference between success and failure. While each school has their own needs, some basic principles can outline a roadmap to a successful connection between schools and their IT support team. We are breaking down our top five list of how to make IT work in education environments.
5. The Right Technology
Finding the right technology for a school is far more than just finding which devices they would like to use. This tip specifically could be broken down to almost infinite possibilities. Security, WiFi, Firewalls, Email, Support System, ect. When the opportunity allows, both client-side and technician-side need to be thought of at the same time.
Network infrastructure is the foundation of health for internet use on each campus. Technology purchases for a school should be mapped out years in advance. Knowing exactly what would work best for your school is worth the amount of research it takes.
Providing efficient training and training resources to your staff saves time and energy for them and your team. It is easy to be sidetracked by other responsibilities and spend less time on teaching your staff the best ways to use their technology. However, in our experience, most faculty are eager and grateful to learn new tools. In IT, it is easy to feel think that some “simple” tips and tricks are not helpful information to share, but every little bit counts.
A staff member that knows the basics of troubleshooting, or why certain issues happen, is able to save time for everyone. In the end, you will be ecstatic to have way more time designated to important and hefty tasks; instead of simple tools you can teach your staff.
3. Be Proactive
Ok, I know this is the most difficult tip on our list to follow. If it is not possible in the foreseeable future, it can always be a goal to strive for. It can be in the back of your mind during less busy times of year. Imagine being ahead of the work that needs to be done, instead of working from behind. In IT, this is understandably a seemingly impossible task. Use the concept in bits and pieces of your work to start.
Try to get ahead on your purchasing, schedule yourself for important dates, create your training content for staff members. Staying ahead on IT support tickets can be a long-term goal, but you don’t need to feel like you can’t implement this methodology elsewhere just to start! This puts you and your team in a solid mindset that sets you up for success.
2. Helpdesk and Support Portal
The proper tools can make a world of difference when it comes to organizing your tasks and responsibilities. Utilizing the right helpdesk and support portal for your users keeps everyone equally updated and on-track. Account based tools for tracking and reporting, a full knowledge base for your users, and the ability to make announcements should be standard. The best helpdesk keeps the majority of your important information all in one place.
Helpdesk was of such importance to us at SimpleFly, that we went through handfuls of different ones just to find one that felt right to us. None felt perfect, until we created one that we custom tailor to our clients. Our help desk service now has all that wanted and more. It’s proven time and time again how well it can support our team and users. A well-managed help desk is an absolute must for technology and education to work together.
We left this as number one for a reason. Communication is the biggest factor in success when it comes to IT in schools. IT needs to speak with everyone in the building. Not only that, but you have to take it into your own hands to check in with your teams. Many times, there are issues completely unknown to the IT Support team. What needs to be kept in mind, is every other member of the team that works in that building could be just as busy as yourself, and maybe hasn’t had time to let you know of an issue going on.
Check in with staff; ask how their technology is working out and if they need any assistance with it. It is much better to have a larger plate of tasks to fill and know what is going on in the building, then to let things slip through the cracks and eventually come back to the surface. On top of communicating with clients and users, make sure to also communicate with your team members. Having some sort of organized ticket system is a huge advantage. A functional organization would have enough info available so that any support team member could help with any open ticket, no problem.