Efficiency of #edtech Repairs

For much of the history of computers in schools, the “timeliness” of repairs was ill-defined and repair deadlines were not critical. When computers were only one or two per classroom and they were only marginally used in the curriculum, a computer being inoperable for a few days or even weeks posed little disruption to students’ work. This was largely due to the fact that computers were simply replacing other technologies; for example, the middle school students I visited as an undergraduate replaced graph paper and pencils with computers to create graphs for their science fair projects. Most of the information those students created and consumed information was on paper, students could be engaged even when “the computers are down.” As computer rooms arrived, dysfunctional computers posed a greater obstacle to learning, but only if the number of students exceeded the number of operational workstations and as long as needed files were not on malfunctioning computers.

As electronic digital information and interaction has come to dominate, and computers have become vital to how information is accessed, analyzed, and created in diverse classrooms; it has become essential that malfunctioning computers be repaired in a timely manner, with timely being defined in hours or days rather than weeks. Especially in schools where one-to-one initiates are underway, teachers plan their lessons based on the assumption that students will have access to devices, so repairs need to be addressed quickly to minimize the disruption to learning that arise from broken computers. Responsive technology support systems, as a result, are designed to increase the efficiency of technicians so that the time between reporting it and it being resolved is minimal.

IT professionals adopt several strategies to increase their efficiency. Interesting almost all malfunctioning IT can be traced to software; files become corrupt, new devices or new hardware introduce conflicts, and other temporary faults are introduced with updates. Almost all of these software problems can be avoided or resolved with a few strategies. Imaging allows technicians to reset the software on entire systems, freezing prevents changes to the software in systems, and remote access systems allow technicians to log on to computers that are connected to networks from remote locations and then affect software repairs.