One of my biggest fears is feeling well prepared at the beginning of class, only to have my technology fail on me. I’m ready, but there’s no sound, or there’s a connection issue with my chromebook. It’s the tech crisis, my long feared enemy. I panic, and I don’t know what to do. Students get impatient as I troubleshoot, and my teaching momentum fizzles.
This has been a fear of mine for a while, so I’ve taken steps to remedy my anxiety. Observing other teachers and doing my own research has given me a wealth of tech resources that lie in secondary schools. Whether you consult these people before, during, or after your tech crisis, they are great teammates that make your teaching life easier.
The following list is in no particular order, as there is no hierarchy of roles in school, only different roles. You may find effective use for some resources and little use for others.
#5 – The School Librarian
- Most of the time, librarians will actually read your mind. They are amazing colleagues whose expertise is seemingly endless. They have hardware and software you can borrow, and they are usually solid at troubleshooting. If you are researching anything or integrating research into a lesson, librarians are an essential ally. Secondary schools often have a library clerk or assistant who can also be a great resource.
#4 – School Technologist
- This is the guy or gal in your school that likely has the highest amount of training in technology. They are brilliant, and they can handle almost anything thrown their way. Some school technologists work at multiple schools, so you may need to fill out a work ticket to get his/her attention if they aren’t in your building. In other words, this resource is fantastic, but not necessarily if you’re mid-crisis.
#3 – Office Staff
- Office staff make so many top five lists. They are truly essential for the school to stay standing. Most secondary schools have multiple office staff, and usually one is a systems operator or of another tech title. Don’t be shy, ask which office staff is best to help you, and tap into their expertise.
#2 – Support Staff with Niche Tech Skills
- Are you trying to integrate technology for a specific learner in your class? There are many support staff that have expertise to assist you. Deaf/Blind education assistants, speech language pathologists, and visual interpreters are just a few of the people that can support your unique learners with technology in the classroom. Check with your school’s learning support department head to find the best person for your needs.
#1 – Technology Department or Tech Committee
- Some schools have both. People in this department or on this committee are generally good resources for tech support. Networking with these types of staff members is great, because you can often contact them mid-crisis for advice, support, etc. Check with school administration to find out what staff are department or committee members. Alternatively, you can also scour your own subject department for a sharp tech mind, often you’ll find a great resource in your own department.
Even armed with this list and the confidence to seek these colleagues out and tap their brain, my tech crisis may still happen. I might still start class with a hiccup in technology, but it’s no longer the fear I held before. Networking with school resources like the ones above has made me smarter and more confident with my technology, and when I find myself in deep water, I know the best are just a phone call away or a holler down the hall.