As I was entering the last stages of my degree I had to choose a topic for my dissertation. There were many different subjects that I considered but in the end my wife quickly helped me decide on a serious topic that was drastically affecting her as a deputy headteacher in a Primary School. The year was 2007, the IT Support in school wasn’t helping them at all. School leaders knew there must be a better way of doing things to help teachers embrace the use of technology.
In the end my dissertation concluded that the only way that teachers would embrace the use of technology is if they felt confident that it would work every time they came to use it. This sounds like a no-brainer to most of us, but it’s terrible to discover that even in 2022 there are school staff who do not feel confident that technology will work successfully each and every time they need to do anything.
From the moment I started my IT Support life working in the school I carried out the Dissertation exercise I quickly realized I had a different approach to IT Support and the wider world of issues. I started to talk to other schools at IT meetings and the feedback was always the same response of ‘we haven’t got someone like you who can help us’.
The general feeling is that IT Technical support in schools isn’t effective and more of a fire fighting scenario rather than a proactive solution.
It’s an awful experience to see the eye rolling and hear comments against support technicians who are only doing the best they can under the circumstances. The real issues lie with the support providers who do not focus on the schools needs, they only care about up-selling products which create more fires that need to be extinguished. I could name and shame a few educational IT Support companies who are still to this day only interested in schools who spend more money with them rather than providing a more personalised service to support people before product.
There are so many schools who don’t have the confidence to break away from this way of working. There needs to be more transparent advice given to all schools to help them select a fairer support system. As I am writing this article today following a meeting I’ve had with a very enthusiastic IT Support engineer who has recently left one of the education support companies I referred to earlier. The general feeling of schools being treated unfairly and the positive input from technicians not being taken seriously by these companies is an immoral practice that has to stop.
I would be interested to receive feedback from as many schools as possible about how effective their IT Support is. My mission is to help IT Support gain a better reputation and all school staff become more confident in using technology to enhance teaching and learning for their students.