In case you haven't noticed, most of us are about 3 weeks away from the beginning of school (GASP!!!). Are you ready? Many of you work year around and have probably spent the summer working madly around the janitors to fix 9 months of damage inflicted by teachers and students. This particular post is primarily for the rest of you, who, like me, may not be funded for more than a few extra days or weeks during the summer. For you, the janitors have been hard at work adding to the disaster of your labs and in-room computers. Even the kindest and gentlest of maintenance staff have probably unplugged cables, power cords, and other items that will have teachers screaming on the first day.
So what should you do? It's time to assess the damage and get into every room now. You may not be getting paid, you will probably leave footprints in fresh floor wax, but waiting until the beginning of the school year is certainly not worth clean shoes or an extra few pina colladas on your deck. Unfortunately, if this process doesn't get started sooner than later, there simply will not be time for fixes, purchases of replacement parts, etc.
I can't say that I've ever had the best relationship with the janitors in my building. I come and go at all hours, I scream for more electricity and climate control in my server closet, and my workshop (former home of a beloved, compulsively neat, 33-year woodshop teacher) is always strewn with half-dead computers and hanging cables. Suffice to say, I'm the last person these folks want to see in early August. However, these are exactly the people with whom we as Ed Tech staff need to coordinate. Here's what you need from them: What rooms are ready for students (floors waxed/cleaned, desks back in place, repairs made, etc.)?If the major computer labs aren't ready for students yet, what is the ETA for completion and what can be done to expedite?Are any requested computer-related repairs made (e.g., electrical or HVAC problems resolved)?Are there any other remaining projects that could affect traffic or mobility as you and your staff move around the school (e.g., halls remaining to be waxed, painting projects, etc.)?
Once you've coordinated your efforts with any summer staff, it's time to arm yourself with a box of power strips, patch cables, power cables, spare mice and keyboards, an Ethernet line tester, and a pad of sticky notes. Get a room list or a school map and start moving from room to room, leaving a sticky note on every door noting the status of equipment in each room. Hopefully you have some help, but there is simply no better way to ensure that all of your users are up and running on Day 1.
As usual, the needs of your users must come first and their return to work should be as seemless as possible so that they can focus on teaching kids rather than figuring out why "the Internet is broken" on their computers.