As a professional in the education industry, it’s your top priority to ensure a high-quality education to the children of your district… and that’s a full-time job. Fortunately, there are resources available to help support those efforts. Among the most integral today is education technology. Devices like computers and tablets can make an enormous difference in how teachers teach and how students learn. These tools have the ability to enhance classroom courses and support students’ learning 24/7.
Teaching with Tech
“Technology […] has the power to transform teaching by ushering in a new model of connected teaching. This model links teachers to their students and to professional content, resources, and systems to help them improve their own instruction and personalize learning.”
—THE US DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
But what does that mean for limited budgets? It’s a question plaguing many in schools across the country. When you’re juggling your district’s limited finances, you wrestle with some complicated matters: should you scale down the budget for books or defer purchasing new computer equipment until next year? Or the year after that?
Those are some tough choices.
As school funding shrinks, these items can seem impossible to prioritize. And unless you’ve found a way to make brand new MacBooks appear in your computer lab without ever spending a dime – in which case, can you call us? – your best bet is to manage the valuable assets already on your books, as best you can.
When you have limited resources, you see how important it is to take extra-special care of the technology already sitting in your classrooms. So here are three quick tips to help ensure you’re maximizing the useful life of your classroom tech.
1. Teach Students How To Care for Technology
Naturally, a school district employee—or even better, an IT professional—should be responsible for performing necessary maintenance functions on school technology, like installing virus software, performing regular software updates, and backing up files.
However, there are plenty of ways your students can get involved to help take care of your computers or other technology devices. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Assign one responsible, trustworthy student to be your Technology Monitor
- Show students how to properly clean the equipment, like wiping down the screen and removing dust from vents or fans
- Teach students the Dos and Don’ts of computer use, like…
- When to use a surge protector
- Avoiding extreme temperatures
- Using a carrying case
- Avoiding food or drink near computer
- Establish a Classroom Computer Code of Conduct that can be hung in your classroom as a constant reminder to students
- To avoid viruses, teach students how to differentiate between a “safe” and “unsafe” website
Not only will showing your students how to properly care for technology help you ensure a long, healthy life for your assets, but it will also make your teachers’ and IT staff’s lives a little easier!
2. Establish a Computer Maintenance Plan
Those pesky “Time for an Update!” notifications always seem to come at the most inconvenient moments: the last week of classes before summer break, mid-audit, right before winter break… We get it.
But while upgrades can be time-consuming, it’s important to remember: your technology represents a significant investment for your school district. And without ongoing maintenance and support, it won’t stay functioning for very long.
An Ounce of Prevention…
If you haven’t already, consider organizing a plan for performing computer maintenance, including all preventive, diagnostic, updating, replacement, and repair procedures. Necessary maintenance tasks could include:
- Parts replacement
- Occasional inspection
- Condition assessment
(For more information on computer maintenance and ideas for implementing a maintenance plan, click here.)
Be sure to include your school’s IT department in the creation of your plan, as well as any other departments or employees who might be able to provide valuable insight. Your administration should recognize that your technology staff are key members of your Maintenance Planning Process and not just computer wizards who fix immediate, pressing problems.
3. Utilize School Asset Management Software
School asset management software systems can do a lot to help you and your district meet your goals. The right solution can replace many manual processes – like depreciation and asset tracking – with automation, which saves you time and stress. And when it comes to classroom technology, software can help your school minimize headaches and maximize resources.
Keep an Eye on Those Assets
Many asset management solutions include asset tagging and scanning capabilities, which are total game-changers during a physical inventory. But scanners can also be used daily to ensure that devices don’t leave the classroom unauthorized. Furthermore, when students (and staff members) know that high-ticket items like laptops and tablets are being monitored, it can actually deter theft and misuse.
Know More About the Assets You Have
And once you’ve established a computer maintenance plan, a software solution can help support those efforts and facilitate a long, healthy life for your technology. Software makes it easy to access and review asset details, like status and condition. And, when used routinely, asset management software will also make it easy for you to know when it’s time for a computer to be serviced or updated.
Like Computer Maintenance, Asset Management Processes are Ongoing
While it’s true that the right asset management system will ensure audit compliance, your district’s asset management efforts shouldn’t stop when your audit ends.
The right school asset management software system should provide all the tools your district needs for managing assets throughout their entire lifecycle, including robust tracking, accounting, and reporting capabilities.
Classroom technology isn’t going anywhere. It’s proven to be a powerful tool for learning and can help keep students engaged in the classroom. But, as technology continues to advance, it may seem hard for a school district to keep up, no matter what the school size. This makes it increasingly important for schools to take proper care of their existing technology. Student caretakers, a computer maintenance plan, and school asset management software can be invaluable for achieving that.