Technical Support Engineer - LearnPad UK

Technical Support Manager

Gloucester, UK

he Technical Support Manager will be fully responsible for running and managing the company’s technical support department, currently employing a small team of dedicated technicians.

This role will primarily involve ensuring the team quickly and efficiently responds to inbound technical support issues, via telephone, email, and the company’s website and support ticketing system, and that all issues are documented and resolved ASAP. It will further involve defining support processes and procedures and in depth reporting and analysis of the reported technical issues, along with root cause analysis leading to recommended remedial action.

The Technical Support Manager will be responsible for ensuring the correct elevation of issues from 1st line, to 2nd line support members, and ultimately any un-resolved software issues to the development team, as well as ensuring that any bugs are correctly documented.They will further be responsible for ensuring that these issues, once resolved, are correctly communicated to the support team and in turn communicated out to the customer base. They will also manage the hardware support and product RMA tickets raised from the support help desks and assigned to the production department.

The Technical Support Manager will further be responsible for implementing and managing in depth pre-release testing and QA/QC procedures, for both software and hardware. They will have ultimate sign off of software from beta to RTM.

The role will also involve the successful candidate managing and maintaining the company’s online support systems, including ticketing, Knowledgebase articles and support documentation. A critical eye for detail is imperative, as is a detailed and methodical approach to documentation.

The School

Miers Court Primary School, based in Gillingham, Kent, is larger than average with a privately funded nursery on the same site. The school has been awarded the Basic Skills Quality Mark and the average point score performance measure per pupil is above average.

Background

Despite its excellent performance, the school, like many, is short of space and therefore the small IT suite houses just 16 computers. To optimise the benefits of this available technology, the school manages a tight schedule giving each class time to use the suite.

Initially netbooks were the hardware technology adopted by the school and at the end of each session, the class would put the netbooks into the charging cabinet ready for the next class. However after a very short time, teachers of the Key Stage 1 pupils found that netbooks were not suitable. There was a need therefore for find a hardware solution for the younger students while being mindful of the lack of available space.

After deciding that tablet PCs were the best solution, Nigel McDonald, network manager at Miers Court set about deciding which one of the wide number of tablets available was the most suitable and the best value for the school.

After researching the key features of the various tablets on the market, Nigel narrowed their search down to two options the Apple iPad and the Avantis LearnPad.

Nigel explains the school’s review; “The first tablet we evaluated was the Apple iPad but while the functionality was strong the price was prohibitively expensive and hard to roll out across the school. If we were wanting a single device for one child the iPad would have been a reasonable match to our requirements.

“test test”

Nigel arranged a review of the primary LearnPad and gave all the teaching staff a chance to trial the tablet. Nigel continues; “The feedback I received from all the teaching staff was very positive and from a technical point of view I was very impressed. The product was very responsive and at least as good as the iPad. Its android operating system meant that the children could access appropriate information from all websites such as CBeebies without the Adobe Flash restrictions on the iPad and I particularly like the way it operated from a technical perspective. Other functionality such as the security of the walled garden front end and other highly appropriate functionality that Avantis has programmed into the LearnPad made it very effective for us.”

“test test”

Miers Court noticed that the LearnPad was particularly effective with the children in the special educational needs unit. Lynne Kerr, teaching assistant within the SEN unit explains. “Everything we do with our SEN children has to be very hands on and practical. Because of the touch screen application of the LearnPad there appeared to be numerous learning activities that really engaged the children. For example, working with a Year Six group, there was a science diagram that asked the children to drag the appropriate naming labels into the correct position. The enquiry process and pleasure they received from the instant feedback in the form of a ‘success’ sound that is given when they got it right provided a very effective, learning activity. The SEN teacher’s most positive reaction was for the LearnPad learning content designed to support mental maths and letter formation that involving drawing on the screen, and memory skills.

The motion sensors are also particularly suited to gross motor skill development activities.

“Most children with special educational needs are either visual or kinaesthetic learners, and therefore this format of learning is ideal. The content can however be set to different levels and therefore is ideal for all learners regardless of their developmental needs. And of course this ability to stretch the activity level is ideal for our gifted and talented children.”

The Roll Out

One of the main reasons that Miers Court primary school chose the LearnPad was the ease with which the technology can be rolled out across a school. Technically this offered network manager, Nigel, in particular a significant benefit. Once the 22 LearnPads had been installed across the school’s network. Nigel ran short training sessions for all the teachers and children. As ever, the children took to the LearnPad instantly but within a few minutes the teachers all felt very comfortable with the technology.

Nigel adds; “The LearnPads appear to have a battery life of approximately six hours of operational time and therefore they can be used across the school day without having to worry about re charging. This is a very important consideration as any less battery life would introduce a whole new management consideration for the school.”

Nigel has asked the teachers to trial a wide range of available apps to see which are the best to invest in. So far they have been attracted to several musically related apps, one of which provides a virtual piano keyboard and drum kit.

Looking Ahead

It would be ideal to have one LearnPad per student and certainly over time Miers Court plans to increase the number they have in the school. Nigel concludes; “Our first objective is to assess the learning content provided on the LearnPads and purchase appropriate apps that fill in any gaps in learning content. All schools have different learning resource requirements and therefore there can never be a one size fits all solution. However Avantis, providers of the LearnPad, welcome feedback on required learning content and therefore we are regularly feeding back ideas for additional activities that make the LearnPad even more effective.”

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LearnPad UK