Finding Common Ground: Technicians and Teachers

Our technical support person frequently complains about teacher and student misuse of equipment, and teachers and students feel hamstrung by all the protective measures taken to keep computers up and running. How can I help them find common ground?

Do teachers have regular opportunities to interact with technicians, or are interchanges confined to those occasions when something has already gone wrong? If yours is like many schools, it's the latter situation. Consider inviting tech support providers to staff meetings, so they can hear what teachers want to do with technology within the context of instructional programs. If the staff member is part time and needs to be paid extra duty time to attend, or is only available to attend occasionally (in cases where technical support is provided at the district level), it's still worth making the extra effort. When teachers and technical support staff have regular opportunities to talk with one another, they have a chance to "walk in the other person's shoes." For example, when a technician understands why a teacher needs to use a particular piece of software, and the teacher understands the compatibility issues that may arise when using a particular software program, they can then work together to find a mutually satisfactory solution.

Once better communication is established, you should find that complaints decrease dramatically.

Submitted by: Susan Brooks-Young

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