I challenged Blue Skunk Readers in last Monday's post to create a set of norms for educators to adopt when working with technology and technology departments. Librarian Christie Burke rose to the challenge by leaving this comment:
First, I'd like to say that this list makes me appreciate our tech team - they do most of these things VERY well, with a particular focus on "education first." Here are my thoughts about the flip side - the teacher dealing with the technology department:
- Education first, just as you say. :) We are all on the same team.
- Be patient. A teacher has one tech issue, but the tech department supports many and may not be able to bump a given request to the front of the queue. Allow for flexibility in response time/method, especially if tech support people wear multiple hats.
- Be clear in communications. Screenshots and documentation are always helpful, but "I can't explain what happened" is tougher to work with. [Be prepared to say what you were doing when the problem occurred.- Blue Skunk]
- Be kind. Remember that thing everyone's mom always said about catching flies with honey or vinegar? Honey really is better; please and thank-yous go a long way. Complaining behind someone's back has no place in a professional setting.
- Be willing to learn. Even those who are intimidated by a new tool or platform can move further along the path as long as they don't decide that they can't. A mindset that is about resistance and fear gets in the way of what students need to do and keeps the tech team from doing their jobs fully. [This is great!- BlueSkunk]
I'm a librarian, not part of the tech team - but I do work closely with tech, as I am often the front line of support for students. They are trying to do a hard job well, like the rest of us in the building.
My only quibble with Christie's list is her statement "I'm a librarian, not part of the tech team ..." I'd like all librarians to see themselves as the teaching/learning part of the tech equation.
I would also like to add that teachers could do a few routine tasks before calling in tech support:
- Turn it off and turn it back on. (I know, it's a cliche, but it is still true.)
- Empty your browser cache.
- Check your cables to make sure they are securely plugged in.
- I find that if I am stumped by a tech problem, walking away, getting a cup of coffee, and coming back often presents a solution.
- Put in a helpdesk ticket. Helps us track what devices and software cause the most issues and to balance the work load among techs.
Teachers and techs - we can make a great team - and we should for the sake of students.