Magazine article Technology & Learning

A Matter of Routine

Magazine article Technology & Learning

A Matter of Routine

Article excerpt

A computer coordinator considers some essential routines for maintaining computers in schools.

As more and more teachers get excited about using computers in their classrooms, three things happen. First, because the computers are being used more, they need more maintenance. Second, if you're really successful the school will have to get more computers. And third, because of their higher profile, it is essential that any computer breakdowns be dealt with fight away. All of which serves to make the already difficult job of overseeing and maintaining the school's technology--a job that frequently falls to the computer coordinator or other school administrator--virtually impossible. Or does it?

Not necessarily. The routines that are essential for the maintenance of the school's computers can be made more manageable by sorting them into jobs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, and during "down times." This approach recognizes that not everything has to be done at once. You (or whoever plays the computer coordinator role at your school) still end up juggling lots of balls in the air--but not all at the same time!

Enlisting Help

Remember that no one technology expert needs to be saddled with all the responsibility. Even without a technician to help out, you can ease the burden by recruiting other educators--and children--to be part of the school's team. In fact, increasing numbers of districts are building leadership teams that include cadres of students trained in computer maintenance. Even if their role is less official, students and teachers can help out as long as you make it easy for them.

For example, wherever there is a computer, there should be a clipboard on the wall with a fault-reporting form attached. Having someone fill in a form won't solve the problem, but it will mean that you can plan your repair schedule without any nasty--and last-minute--surprises.

Also, filling a printer with a stack of paper is a chore that anyone should be able to do, as long as they're told how. Why not have instructions on the wall near every printer?

The lists that follow aren't comprehensive, but should set everybody off in the right direction.

Daily Tasks

These daily routines help to ensure that the computers are respected by everyone, and that they are completely usable. …

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