A Smart Start

School districts have received much-needed guidance from the local, regional, state and national level. Additionally, you have been asked to not only be a leader in your community but most likely your own home as well, when it comes to education in today’s environment.  Whether it has been a virtual connection with valued friends or essential workers I find that many have technical questions about this new space that we are in--let alone addressing the aspirations that families have for their children.  Needless to say, creating a culture and network for assistance is essential to supporting all who ensure the success of our learners.

Checking in with colleagues across the nation we are finding that critical to new beginnings (like distance, hybrid learning, or increased health and safety environment) are development of user-specific “smart start guides” for navigating the opening of the school year alongside providing a high-quality “help desk” experience.

The help desk serves as a resource for the end user with information supported to relate to the customer’s needs. Simply said, it is a place where one can gather assistance on anything from logging into a portal, connecting to district resources, and technical assistance with a learning management system.

Traditionally, district technology help desks are resourced to support the faculty and staff of the district and schools provide the needed support to the parents and students. For most users, the experience they receive from the help desk determines how they feel about the entire organization. In the remote learning environment, the responsibility to provide technical support to the parents and students has shifted to the central office which has made a huge impact on the districts’ help desk departments. As parents become more involved in remote learning, the services they receive will publicly be reflected in departments and school districts.  As you consider your own help desk data and insights:

  • How have you organized your help desk?  Are your support services combined or isolated?
  • Is your help desk team well trained?
  • Is your help desk software capable of handling the additional load?  
  • Does it have advanced capabilities such as chat, appointment scheduling, and self-service with artificial intelligence and knowledge-based repository?
  • Is your help desk continually informed of resources, processes, and challenges in a quick-changing environment?
  • Is it integrated with your asset management system?
  • Do you have enough licenses to accommodate the increased load?  
  • Have you considered third party support during peak times?
  • What does the gathered data tell you about access and equity in your system?

Sorting and categorizing your data can help you capture and combine insights into the resources that are needed both in temporary and future planning. Do your resources have the necessary analytics to provide parents and students with the best services possible?