From Blade Runner to Black Mirror, the future is often portrayed as being a bleak place to be, with advanced artificial intelligence forcing us to question our humanity. In modern times however, the most dramatic battles that most people have with technology usually involve hitting Ctrl-Alt-Delete, or grumbling at their laptop when it ‘can’t find the printer’.

In UK and Irish schools there is a real desire to use innovative technology for the benefit of students. The results of this year’s Bett Innovation Index found that 88 percent of teachers agree that educational technology improves education. However it can be frustrating when the things that are there to aid us, go wrong – and doubly so when ICT support is difficult to get hold of, or doesn’t understand your situation.

If you’re hankering for humanised ICT support, here are a few questions to consider to help you know if a provider is right for you.

Do they take your budget into account?

Schools aren’t renowned for having unlimited resources. With high scrutiny on budgets and attaining value for money, the ICT you use needs to be able to demonstrate a return on investment. The good news is that while a very sophisticated and expensive solution may look attractive, it isn’t necessarily going to be right for you.

Does your external ICT support company know enough about your institution’s needs in order to advise on a suitable framework? They should be able to recommend an affordable ICT strategy for the short and long term that will set you up for educational success.

Do they cater for individuality?

Your students are unique. They come from different backgrounds and have individual talents - and likewise, differing levels of engagement with different subjects. ICT is a wonderful tool, not only for gaining student enthusiasm, but also for enabling students to work at a pace that’s best for their own growth. ICT’s inclusivity and adaptability means it’s great for SEND students too.

Your ICT support company should be able to understand that you may not want one-size-fits-all technology, and should recommend the best options for you based on the humans in your classroom.

Do they recognise your own capabilities?

Technology can be great – but not when it fails, and especially not when you’re standing in front of an expectant class who are seconds away from mutiny. According to this year’s ‘The State of Technology in Education Report’ from Promethean, under 5% of UK and Irish teachers believe they receive full training and support on new school technologies - down 20% from 2016.

Technology should never be a barrier to education, so your ICT support company should understand how best to facilitate training needs, and inspire confidence.

Are they well-informed?

How does your ICT support company best understand how your school is performing? The right ICT systems can do a lot of the legwork for you. With options for data analysis and insight, your ICT can take the guesswork and ‘lost in translation’ aspects out of performance reviews, and bring accurate up-to-date perspectives.

It can help you to benchmark against your targets, and perform predictive analytics too. This will help you to make the right choices around improving attainment.

Are they accessible?

There are fewer technical staff members in schools than there used to be. This is partly driven by the move from on-site hardware, to Cloud-based software. However this means that you may not have the immediate assistance that you might need for ICT issues.

Your ICT support company should therefore be ready to answer your call – without putting you on hold. After all, that’s what you’re paying them for.

Humanised ICT support

Just as important as knowing who you are talking to when you contact your ICT support company, is the reassurance that they know who you are. Because while we’re not yet bowing to our new robot overlords, it’s a comfort to know that there are living, breathing people who can understand your situation, take care of your requirements, and help prevent your technology going awry.

In the same way that your students need human interaction and guidance, RM Education offers the human touch for your ICT.

Take a first step towards understanding the effectiveness of your school technology by using our free online ICT Health Check Tool.

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