In the past several years, school districts have invested time and money to upgrade and integrate new technology into schools. While K-12 leaders have made inroads in closing the connectivity gap and creating meaningful digital learning experiences, this new technology requires continuous IT support that is challenging to complete while school is in session.

According to the 2018 National K-12 IT Leadership Survey Report from the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), the majority of IT department time is spent reacting to technical problems. This results in less time to focus efforts on leveraging technology for learning, implementing, or planning for new technology, or evaluating the impact of implemented systems and applications on learning outcomes. As staffing levels are unlikely to change, new strategies are needed to find pockets of time for these important activities.

The good news is that school calendars introduce three natural periods for proactive planning and maintenance: winter break, spring break, and summer. During these times, schools have cleared out, reducing support requests and minimizing the impact that any maintenance may have on students, staff, and teachers.

Spring break is an ideal time for school districts to perform proactive device maintenance and roll out new initiatives.

Your 3-step edtech maintenance plan

1. Choose your device policy

It used to be that these break periods offered IT a physical touch point for maintenance tasks, but now there are tools that make physical location irrelevant for updates and patches. Some districts with tools that allow continuous device support are considering the potential learning benefit of year-round 1:1 device policies that also reduce time-consuming device check-in/check-out processes.

Whatever your choice, communicate with parents to ensure you have a process in place to support device returns (as needed), a way to manage zero-touch maintenance, self-healing of critical applications, and a clear user agreement with students. Before any break period, it’s a good idea to remind parents and students about the risk of device theft in restaurants, airports, and cars.

About the Author:

Throughout his 28 years with the Lincoln (NE) Public Schools, Kirk Langer has held a variety of technology positions directly supporting the use of technology as a catalyst for increasing business productivity and teacher effectiveness in support of student learning. In the aftermath of a catastrophic fire eight years ago, Langer has been a driving force in a transformation that has moved Lincoln Public Schools from a district that integrates technology to a district where technology is integral to the delivery of service and instruction.