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Technology In Practice

Tips For Teaching w/Technology

Tech Support Protocol in Middle School

We have a few different tech support channels in the middle school. Below is a quick guide on who to contact for different tech scenarios:
  1. Homeroom tech protocol in the Middle School - "Check Your Tech" morning routine
  2. Who to contact when you have a tech issue, or question for yourself
  3. Who to point your students toward when they have another tech issue, or question
  4. Who to point parents toward if they reach out with a tech issue, or question
  5. What to do if you do not have a tech support request, but you think there may be a tech implication to your question/email
  6. What to do if you have a question about Veracross - specifically!

1. Homeroom tech protocol in the Middle School - "Check Your Tech" morning routine

This is a practice that was started during hybrid learning (when students could not move around as easily), and we thought it worked so well that we're going to continue it in the 2021-2021 school year! The aim is to get student's pressing tech needs (see below for what a "Pressing Tech Need" entails) taken care of by the end of first period! This will help everybody, including teachers who will need students to be tech-ready! Also, advisors will be clued into any students with recurring tech issues.

PROTOCOL:
  1. All students & advisors/homeroom teachers will include in the start of each morning a "Check Your Tech" routine - which is to establish loaner needs

  2. This routine includes asking two questions: 1. Did you bring your device today? 2. Is your device charged enough to last the day and/or if not do you have a charger with you?

  3. If the answer to either of these questions is NO for any students, continue to Step 4!
  4. Advisors will send an email to "ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org" (it is important that you use this email address!), that includes:
    • A list of students, and their tech needs
    • The room number you're in (even though the device/charger may not be delivered until 1st period
  5. Manuela (or maybe Aidan) will deliver the necessary tech to the student
"Pressing tech needs" and --> solutions include:
  • TECH NEED: A student forgot their device (iPad or Chromebook) at home --> SOLUTION: a loaner will be provided

  • TECH NEED: A student brought in a device that is not charged, and they do not have a charger with them --> SOLUTION: a loaner charger will be provided

  • TECH NEED: A student has a (very) malfunctioning device that will not allow them to make it through a morning class --> SOLUTION: a loaner device will be provided


2. Who to contact when you have a tech issue, or question for yourself
  • See if the answer to your question is on the Berkeley Carroll Tech Wiki;
  • OR, if it is a question about a specific Tech tool, check out the resources linked to on this Libguide
  • Still stumped? Send an email to the Berkeley Carroll Help Desk: helpdesk@berkeleycarroll.org
  • IMPORTANT: As much as possible, avoid sending tech support emails to individual tech team members

Help Desk is managed during school hours by the Berkeley Carroll Tech Team. Sending an email to this address opens a support ticket, which will then be delegated to the tech person best suited to answer your question. 

This is a more efficient method than emailing a specific person on the team, as there may be someone with more capacity to answer your question sooner! An email to a specific person may also result in a lost request if the person you contacted is not in that day. 

EXCEPTIONS to emailing Help Desk may include:
  • A follow-up question, or response within an ongoing conversation - If someone on the Tech Team has been helping you with a specific question, feel free to follow up with them directly

3. Does one of your students have a tech question? Here's what to do!
  • Make sure it is isn't a question you can answer yourself, as their teacher. If it is a question about a specific assignment for your class, you may know more than you think as the person who created the assignment.
  • If it makes sense, and will not be disruptive to your teaching, you may choose to send the student to the Middle School Library Knowledge Bar. Manuela can assist them 1-on-1, unless she is teaching! If Manuela is not at the Knowledge Bar...
    • Advise the student to email Manuela (maronofsky@berkeleycarroll.org) themselves, and cc the teacher, and/or advisor as necessary. Remind them what a helpful tech request looks like! As part of the all-Middle School tech norms orientation, all students will participate in a short lesson on sending efficient tech support emails. 

A note on Digital Essentials: We are excited to be incorporating Digital Essentials back into the 2021/2022 schedule (all year for 5th & 6th grade; first trimester for 7th & 8th grade). This will be also be designated class time to help manage tech needs, if necessary.

We will also be supporting teachers who are using tech in the classroom, so will ideally be in the loop about what apps/tools are being used for different classes, per grade level. Please communicate with us if you are using tech tools in your classroom, even if you do not anticipate questions!


In some circumstances, it might make more sense for you to email us about the question yourself. In this case, please use the following protocol:

  • When emailing about a student tech issue: email the student, and “cc” both "ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org" AND the student’s advisor. By emailing "ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org" the email will reach Aidan, Kris & myself and we will delegate the request as needed. Include the student's Advisor so that follow-ups can more easily take place.
  • We leave it in your hands whether you want to include parents/guardians in this email, or not. We have now changed it so that students using their school BC email addresses can both email, and receive emails from parent email addresses listed in Veracross.
  • Explain the tech issue in as much detail as possible. We will then set up an IN-PERSON) time to meet with the student when they are in the building. Most likely this will have to be  ~10 minutes during a class.

4. Has a parent/guardian reached out about a tech question for their student? Here's what to do!
  • Make sure it is isn't a question you can answer yourself, as the teacher. If it is a question about a specific assignment for your class, you may know more than you think as the person who created the assignment. 
  • Still stumped? You can direct the parent to either Aidan, or Manuela. Please do NOT give the Help Desk email address to parents (this is an internal address for teachers, and staff)
  • IMPORTANT: It is sometimes helpful if you (as the teacher) communicates with Aidan or Manuela before directing a parent to them. For example:
    • If it is a question about tech for a specific assignment that you do not know the answer to, some context on the assignment/tech needs would be helpful ahead of time.
    • In some circumstances, it may make more sense for you to email us about the question yourself. Use your discretion, and 'CC' the family member, and student in your email.
    • Before directing a parent to the Tech Team, please read over the Service Level Agreement for Remote Learning to ensure it is a question that the Tech Team can reasonably answer. 

5. Are you sending an email that is NOT a tech request, but that may have a tech implication? Here's what to do!
  • Email, OR include in your email recipients: ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org. This email address is specific to the Middle School Tech Team, and including it in an email is a great way for us to monitor issues that may have a tech implication. There may be more of these than you think! Especially in a remote/hybrid learning environment.
  • Examples of when to include ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org include:
    • Student performance issues that you think may need tech attention, but that you are contacting other teachers about as well;
    • Anything else related to Middle School devices, tech, and/or remote learning (that is not a help request) that you are unsure who to contact about

6. What to do if you have a question about Veracross - specifically!

Email "vchelp@berkeleycarroll.org" - we have a designated person who helps us with Veracross issues, and they will be able to help you most efficiently.

In order for the Tech Team to help you in the most efficient way possible, we need a few things from you when you are submitting a tech question.
This is especially true in a remote, and/or hybrid learning environment in which email volume is heightened, and there are fewer in-person opportunities to troubleshoot.
Here are a few tips on sending an efficient, and helpful tech request (regardless of the learning environment):

  • Before emailing Help Desk - restart your device, and see if the issue is still occurring: If we know that you have tried this, then we don't need to suggest it. Rebooting your device is still one of the most effective ways of solving tech issues (especially during/after heavy tech use days).

 

  • Let us know your question with as much advance notice as possible: We know things come up, and oftentimes tech questions only make themselves apparent in the moment! However, the earlier you are able to ask your question, the more efficiently & comprehensively we will be able to answer it.

 

  • Tell us the urgency level of your request: Is this a question that needs an answer that day? Over the weekend? Or can it wait a day or two (if necessary?) Let us know, as depending on the day's volume, the Tech Team may need to prioritize requests in order of urgency. Unless designated as urgent, requests will not be answered after 4pm, or on weekends.

 

  • Include as many details, and if possible - screenshots: The more we know in the initial support request, the more we are able to comprehensively answer your question, and avoid suggesting redundant tips. Helpful details to include are:
    • Which device it experiencing the issue
    • Any error messages that appeared
    •  How long the issue has been happening
    • If it is an Internet issue, what browser you are using
    • If it a specific app or website, which app or website it is
    • What you have already tried (restarting your computer; unplugging/replugging in a cord; turning your WiFi on/off, searching the Tech Wiki, etc.)
    • Screenshots, or pictures of the issue, or error messages

Below are examples of helpful, and not so helpful tech support requests we have received:
Helpful Support Request

“Google Drive is not working correctly on my iPad. I get an error message when I try to upload a file. Here is a screenshot of the message. I tried rebooting the iPad and signing back in to Google, but that didn’t help. This isn’t urgent, but I need it for next Tuesday. I am free after 2pm today.”

This gives us much more information to investigate. Now we know the app and the circumstance. Screenshots of the problem are almost always helpful. Also since they told us that they already tried two very common solutions to the problem (rebooting and signing back in), we won’t ask the person to try these and can immediately move on to other possible solutions. Lastly, this request lets us know when is a good time to reach out and how urgent the request is helps us prioritize.

Unhelpful Support Request

“My iPad is glitchy.”

This gives the team nothing to go on. The only way we can help is to write the person back asking for more information and wait for a reply. If we have more information up front, we can investigate to see if the issue is more widespread (i.e. a known outage). Also we won’t suggest you try things you have already tried.

We know everyone is aware that tech, and tech support has looked different during remote, and hybrid learning. We are still figuring things out as well! This is true for any learning environment (remote, hybrid, or in person) that we end up experiencing.
Here are a few things we DO know about tech, that we need you to know as well:

  • In-person tech support may not be available during class time: We may need to limit the Tech Team's exposure to students (and vice versa). This means we may not be able to come into your classroom if you are experiencing a tech issue, and others are in the room. If it is an emergency, you may send an URGENT Help Desk ticket, and we will attempt to solve your problem remotely. Otherwise, you may need to be prepared to pivot your lesson if it is reliant on technology.

 

  • We need you to communicate early with us about any ongoing, or "smaller" tech issues you are experiencing: If you notice something with your device, or with your classroom tech (even something that seems minor), please let us know about it anyways, and ASAP.

 

  • If there is anything the Tech Team can do to make your teaching experience easier, PLEASE let us know: As much as possible, we are going to make tech troubleshooting tips (such as fixing the Apple TV + classroom AV) visible, and accessible. However, if you notice, or think of something we have not made clear, please tell us so we can make your tech experience better.
Click here for instructions on: How to install the Library printers on your Macbook

Student Printing Policies for the 2021-2022 school year:

  • Teachers must provide advance notice if they are going to have their class (or any number of students) print to the Middle School Library printers. We need an adult present, and we need to know that there are not multiple groups of students coming into the library at the same time.
  • If you are going to need your students to print anything during class, please email "ms-tech@berkeleycarroll.org" the day before (at least) so we know that there will be an adult present that period to monitor the printing!
  • There will be no printing during Study Hall, or before school for the above reasons
Because of these printing policies, it is necessary that you provide all paper copies of everything for students DURING class. Please do not assume that any student has a printer at home, so if you are requiring a paper submission, you must supply the printout yourself.

Printing Tips & Norms:

  • Make sure you are printing to the MS Library B & W or Color Printers if you are using these printers. The MS Faculty Room printer is in the faculty office (Room 118B within the Library)
  • If you’re having trouble printing, make sure you have the printer installed correctly from SELF SERVICE (see instructions below)
  • Please try to use the copy machines downstairs if you are printing a lot of copies, and have the time
  • Please do not change the printer toner yourself. Email “Helpdesk” if you are getting a low toner error (or ask Manuela to do it if she’s at her desk).
  • There should be extra printer paper below the printers, or in the faculty room cabinet. If you don't see any extra printer paper, email “Helpdesk” to request a new box (or ask Manuela to do it if she’s at her desk).
  • If you are not able to pick up your print job right away, and you don’t see it in the printer, it may have been put in the scrap paper box (wooden paper tray) next to the printer.

To install the MS Library printers for your own use, follow these steps (you can also follow these instructions to install any printer in the building):
  • Open Self Service, and Click on "Printers" on the left-hand menu
  • Find the '181-MS Library BW' & '181-MS Library Color' printer & Click "Install" (if the button says 'Reinstall' you have already installed the printer)