$100,000 in tech support services for Minnesota schools

Nine Minnesota schools and districts are piloting a program that is aimed at reducing routine calls to computer help lines by 30 percent through services donated by Netven LLC of Austin, Texas, and KnowledgeBroker Inc. The companies value the services at nearly $100,000.

Under the program, technical support personnel at selected schools and districts will receive complimentary access for the 2000-’01 school year to Netven’s PC-HMO web-based support tools , as well as the “Ask Me Online” web portal developed by KnowledgeBroker Inc., a leading provider of technical support content.

Minnesota’s Office of Technology, which developed the project and chose the grant recipients, believes the program will improve computer users’ ability to get answers to routine questions without calling on overtaxed school district workers. Integrated internet-based training and support will improve both users’ and support staffs’ abilities to operate the systems, said Paul Wasko, the state’s manager of education technology initiatives.

When the program ends, schools can decide to continue the service at a pre-determined cost.

The grant recipients are South St. Paul School District; Minnesota Business Academy; Grand Rapids School District 318; Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School; Byron High School; Ada-Borup Public Schools; South Washington County School District; Browns Valley School District; and BOLD School District.

Contact: Jim Schwartz, Minnesota Department of Administration’s Communications Office, at (651) 284-3351.