- It's no secret that K-12 IT teams often find themselves strapped not just for resources but for human bandwidth, but implementing asset management tools and processes can help streamline tasks and reduce the burden, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- In Chicago's Acero Schools charter network, for instance, a team of one system administrator and five help desk technicians were manually managing the bulk of tech in use by 7,500 students at 15 schools, but a 2018 standardization initiative saw the adoption of Chromebooks featuring automated asset tracking with preinstalled wireless credentials, as well as GPS-based theft management services.
- Additional options for streamlining these processes include putting a ticketing system in place to assign specific technicians as the point people throughout the lifespan of any given issue reported to IT staff, and automated device checkout systems using QR codes and scanners.
According to the Consortium for School Networking, 20% of district IT leaders say their teams must support a minimum of 15,000 devices, and more than half say budget restrictions prevent them from hiring additional staff to even the load. Ultimately, as EdTech notes, this creates a scenario where they're reacting to problems more than getting in front of them proactively.
Investing in systems and software that automate some of these processes is critical to making the job more manageable. After all, streamlining the devices in use and ensuring they come preloaded with wireless credentials and location assignments saves the time and energy it would take staff to do that manually, necessitating fewer support staff members. The same can be said for automated checkout systems.
But — as always — careful planning is essential to not just implement these approaches, but to make the case for the initial investment. IT directors can pitch the idea of, for example, redirecting the money saved on hiring additional support personnel toward paying someone to oversee cybersecurity efforts, an area where a specialized role is increasingly needed as schools adopt more tech, collect more data and become more enticing targets to hackers.