Getting IT Together

In the early days of asset management,districts often pieced togetherinventories with Excel spreadsheetsthat had been handed down fromgenerations for whom the mostcomplicated pieces of equipmentwere 3M overhead projectors.
Publish date:
Social count:
In the early days of asset management,districts often pieced togetherinventories with Excel spreadsheetsthat had been handed down fromgenerations for whom the mostcomplicated pieces of equipmentwere 3M overhead projectors.

As technology evolves, inventory management is more important than ever

In the early days of asset management, districts often pieced together inventories with Excel spreadsheets that had been handed down from generations for whom the most complicated pieces of equipment were 3M overhead projectors. As time and technology marched on and equipment inventories grew, those Excel spreadsheets quickly got out of hand. Once your district is ready to take that next step to a more robust inventory management system, where do you start?

The ideal management solution will allow inventory data to be collapsed into a single system that tracks equipment by purchase, serial number, warranty date, and job. It also will allow you to create customizable asset reports. Here are some basic steps to take as you begin the journey to purchasing an equipment management system:

1 Define your process and understand your database. The tool you select will be the backbone of your inventory management system. Learn how the system works and complete a needs analysis of your own environment. Ultimately, what do you—the end user— want to get out of it?

2 Define your roles in this process. Who is your purchaser? Who is your receiver? Who is the person that makes the bottom-line decisions about how your district will manage any changes? If your procedure must change, who propagates that information to your team and ensures that standards are followed? Consensus is very important so that information stays consistent.

3 Know your equipment. At minimum, have someone on your team who knows the equipment before you enter it in your database.

4 Create a solid naming convention and data entry procedure. Construct a data dictionary to eliminate redundancy. Know how you want to enter items into your system from the beginning. It will save you a lot of time in the end.

5 Documentation and control, control, control. AV management must begin with control. The system cannot work if too many keys are made available for your storage space. This has less to do with security than with how equipment can be innocently misplaced.

6 Analyze how many people must be involved to do your management efficiently. Less is always better—it ensures control—but having additional eyes to double-check your work and serve as back-up is always good. You definitely don’t want to take that week-long vacation to Bora Bora and discover that your whole system has shut down while you were gone. A week of mistakes can turn into a year-long nightmare.

AV inventory management can be a bear. It’s a burden that very few staff members volunteer to take on. But whether or not you have one person managing a few schools, or several managing a whole district, you can’t go wrong by following the steps laid out above.

Mary K. McDaniel is a member of the Academic Technology Support division of the Office of Information Technology at CU Boulder.



Working Together

from Technology & Learning Google Apps goes to school. Imagine you're working with teachers in your school to put together a multidisciplinary curriculum. Or that you are advising a student organization on how to pull off a school-wide event. You have multiple teams working on tasks, emails flying back and

Getting the Perfect Laptop

For most districts, the dream of arming their students and fellow educators with laptops — perhaps reaching the vaunted status of being a one-to-one school — holds a powerful appeal. Yet whether your district is making that push to get laptops into the hands of each student or simply considering upgrades

Get It Done Online

Web 2.0 collaboration tools can help smooth out funding efforts. Your district needs to write or update a plan for categorical funding. The guidelines mandate evidence of collaborative writing. A committee is formed, but scheduling multiple face-to-face meetings to accomplish this task is proving difficult. How can

Making It All Work Together

Tip: Talk about multi-tasking! As Professional Developers we have to attend to Standards, Curriculum, and Technology - all at the same time! Here's how: Start with the state standards. Before a teacher designs a new unit, encourage her or him to start by choosing a standard or two to emphasize. The next step is

Add It Up

Come September many students will be shopping for more than pencils and notebooks. As technology grows, so does demand, even down to colorful calculators tailor-made for inquisitive little fingers, like Educational Insight's See and Solve, which displays whole problems in both vertical and horizontal orientation.

Getting It Wrong: Slaying Myths About Video Games (Part 1)

from Technology & Learning Two years ago I began to play World of Warcraft as a way to stay in touch with my teenage sons while I was on the road. WoW is the market leader of a new generation of computer games characterized as "massively multiplayer"—more than 9 million people around the globe play