Tech Department Improves Support and Credibility With SchoolDude’s ITDirect
Kingsport City Schools (TN) Director of Technology Says Solution Makes His Staff More Efficient and More Focused on the Educational Endeavor
Kingsport City Schools (TN) Director of Technology John Payne says the best part of his job is “going out and helping teachers in the classroom.” He continues: “I’m not talking about fulfilling work orders. I’m talking about going into the classroom and showing them how to use a document camera or an interactive whiteboard.”
“Helping teachers” is best part of the job
Because of this, he states that the second-best part of his role is the bi-annual Tech Academy that he and his staff stage for the district’s teachers. Each semester, for four or five weeks, they train a group of teachers representing each school on how to incorporate educational technologies into their curriculum. When the training comes to a close, the teachers take their training, as well as the equipment and software they have been provided by the technology department, back into their classrooms.
“We’ll teach them to use Flip cameras in order to make videos and how to use Windows Moviemaker to edit those videos,” explains Payne, who spent 24 years at the lectern of science and vocational classes before accepting a technology role four years ago. We’ll teach them to use microphones and Audacity, a free sound editor, to create podcasts and how to post those and their videos to our website.” Due to shrinking coffers, the technology department has scaled back the duration of the academy by a week or two and the number of pupils from 30 to 16 teachers, but it continues to be a popular success with district educators. In fact, they’ve recently created Tech Academy II, in which each teacher is responsible for investigating a Web 2.0 application and then presenting what they’ve learned to the group.
A simple but powerful tool
Alas for Payne, he can’t devote all of his time to hands-on teaching support—there are, after all, those pesky and unrelenting work orders to fulfill. But even with work orders, whose successful completion are, of course, essential to keeping a district functioning both operationally and instructionally but seemingly removed from the pedagogical pursuit, he has found a tool that ultimately helps everyone in the district do their jobs better. It’s called ITDirect from SchoolDude.
ITDirect is a powerful, online technology incident and help desk management tool that streamlines the entire technology workflow process, from incident request to resolution. “One of the best things about it,” says Payne, whose district has used ITDirect since 2006, “is its simplicity of use.”
“It’s so easy for a teacher to create an account and work orders,” he explains. Because it is cloud-based, teachers can submit requests from anywhere and his staff can access them from anywhere. “Once the work order has been submitted, the system is intelligent enough to route it to the right person in the department to take care of it. But the teacher can also route it to whomever they want.” As for himself and his technicians, each incident tells them everything they need to know: the building, the room, as well as a description and even ranking of the importance of the problem.
“The information is accurate, it’s organized and the system allows you to browse the history of problems and solutions for a particular account holder or device. It has a great search system,” says Payne. “And if a technician is too busy to address the issue or believes that another technician would be a better choice, it’s easy to move work orders around.”
Can’t imagine working without it
Payne says that he and his staff can’t imagine not having ITDirect. “If I didn’t have it, I’d be flooded with e-mails to organize and prioritize. And every time I walked down a hall, I’d be waylaid by teachers and other staff that needed help.”
He values his ITDirect system from SchoolDude so much, he has his elevator speech down pat (ENA asked him and he responded as follows without pause):
- Reason #1: It’s cost-effective
“For the price, you can’t beat it.”
- Reason #2: It’s Web-based.
“It’s accessible from my iPad, anytime, anywhere.”
- Reason #3: It increases efficiency.
There’s far less time consumed by gathering information, delegating work to staff and prioritizing that work. Thanks to ITDirect, says Payne, he can confidently boast about how he and his staff conduct business: “If an issue doesn’t directly impact the educational effort, we put it in line behind the issues that do.”
- Reason #4: It increases departmental credibility.
“You have hard evidence of your work load and resolutions. This is a great resource when you’re compiling reports for your board of education,” as he does annually. In sum, “It shows how important we are.”
How many successfully completed work orders have been logged in their ITDirect database since the district adopted the SchoolDude solutions (as of the day that ENA interviewed Payne)? With a glance, Payne can say: 6,197, to be exact.
That is a lot of time and effort that, thanks to ITDirect, no one has to forget.
For more information
To order or learn more about Learn360, contact ENA Consortium Program Manager Kylie McGee at firstname.lastname@example.org or (615) 312-6083.