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Technology at Your Fingertips
Chapter 1: Knowing What to Do

Chapter 2: Knowing What You Need

Chapter 3: Knowing What You Have

Chapter 4: Knowing What to Get

Chapter 5: Knowing How to Implement Your Solution

Chapter 6: Knowing How to Train Users

Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution

What Provisions Should Be Made for Ongoing Oversight?

How Do You Plan for Providing Ongoing User Support?

How Should You Monitor Regular Usage of Your System?

What Kind of Ongoing Technology Maintenance Will Be Needed?

How Do You Monitor Your System's Users' Needs?

What Do You Need to Do About Upgrades to Software?

What Do You Do About Replacement and Redeployment of Equipment?

Should You Accept Donations?

When Should You Use Volunteers?

How Do You Find Qualified Help When You Need It?

Is That All There Is To It?
Chapter 7: Knowing How to Support and Maintain Your Technology Solution

Objective: By the time you finish this chapter you will know how to plan for the ongoing and long-term support and maintenance of your technology solution.

Your new computer technology is up and running. This can often constitute an anti-climax. Is life in your organization perfect now? No. Is it better than it was before? It will be. But first, you need to ensure that the technology is used properly and that it is systematically maintained and supported. This requires providing ongoing training and assistance for all your user groups, and ensuring proper maintenance of the equipment, software and network connections. Once you have instituted these activities, you will see a dramatic difference in the way that your organization operates. If your technology focuses on the provision of instruction to students, you should begin to see some new excitement in the way students approach learning in general, and in the use of technology in particular. This chapter will look at specific issues pertaining to the support, maintenance and use of your technology once it is in operation.

When we talk about maintaining the physical aspects of your computer technology throughout its life span (generally 3-5 years for many applications), we must think seriously about what maintenance requirements actually entail. We have previously mentioned some aspects of ongoing maintenance, but haven't discussed the entire process, or other issues that will surely arise as time passes. For example, the following is a list of key ongoing support and maintenance issues:

  • Providing for ongoing oversight of the technology solution.
  • Providing ongoing user support through help desks, documentation, and training.
  • Reviewing usage measurements.
  • Maintaining technology components.
  • Monitoring system effectiveness.
  • Upgrading software to new releases.
  • Replacing and redeploying equipment.
  • Using volunteers and donations.
  • Finding qualified help.
  • Developing or purchasing new applications.
Thus, there are many issues to consider when thinking about the support and maintenance of your technology solution. If one looks at computers in the classroom, for example, one option to think about is leasing your computers with maintenance service built directly into the contract; an alternative is to purchase a separate maintenance agreement. But before making your decision, you should probably ask yourself, "How long can we tolerate a classroom teacher being without a computer if he or she has planned on using the technology in a lesson?" Such a question clearly underscores the importance of planning in advance for ongoing maintenance and timely support.

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