3e. Troubleshoot basic technology problems


ISTE Coaching standard 3E asks that coaches equip teachers to perform basic troubleshooting when using digital tools and devices. Of course there is value in being able to solve your own technology problems, but teachers will also be expected to solve problems for students–especially those teachers who teach younger students.

For this substandard, I explore two reference databases that schools in Oregon and Massachusetts have created to provide teachers with go-to assistance. These examples serve as a model that technology coaches could replicate in order to support this particular substandard.

I also wanted to share two pieces of advice that I wish I could go back in time and give myself as a teacher just beginning her adventure with technology:

  1. There is value in admitting that you don’t know the solution and having students (or other teachers) walk with you in the process of searching for a solution.

  2. Even though the quickest solution may be to grab the student’s computer and fix the issue, walking them through the problem or even requiring that students troubleshoot via Google search is valuable in fostering independence instead of reliance on you as the fixer.

Evidence: School-wide Reference Databases

The idea of schools offering a single go-to resource that addresses basic technology troubleshooting, navigation of devices and tools, and elements of digital citizenship is very exciting to me. Currently, many schools have a dedicated IT page; however, it is often merely a link for contacting the help desk and an overview of the school’s program. There is no support or guidance offered. To me this seems like a missed opportunity. In exploring ways that schools have implemented a resource page for staff and student technology support, I found two exemplars: one from Burlington Public Schools in Massachusetts and one from Portland Public Schools in Oregon.

Source: Chromebooks, A Resource Guide for BPS Educators - created by Jennifer Scheffer for Burlington Public Schools

Burlington Public Schools (located in Massachusetts) is a wonderful example of what a robust database of student and faculty resources can look like. BPS’s mobile learning coach, Jennifer Scheffer, created the resource shown in the screen-shot above. The Google Site supports new and current faculty members in utilizing Google Chromebook and the Google Apps for Education Suite. Scheffer’s work is an ideal model because it supports anywhere, anytime learning that educators can pursue at their own pace. Additionally, this model would save IT departments and/or technology integrators quite a bit of time since they can point teachers to this site instead of answering the same questions over and over.

Another exciting element of BPS’s program is their student-staffed help desk. In addition to supporting fellow students and faculty members, Help Desk students create digital portfolios and utilize blogs and social media to share their work.

Source: Technology Resource Guide by Portland Public Schools

Portland Public Schools has also utilized Google Sites to publish a comprehensive teacher guide for tools, devices, and resources used by the district. Educators can utilize the site to access and/or troubleshoot email, the Canvas LMS, Google Apps for Education, and miscellaneous tools used by the district. They can also access information about digital citizenship or contact the district Help Desk.