Spring Break in EdTech
Spring break is here! I know we all may be a little weary of it this time around, considering a year ago is when the world got flipped upside down. BUT, that doesn’t take away the serenity, peace, joy (and repairs) that happen during spring break for our education customers. For thestudents, this is a literal ‘break’ from the learning grind and a time to rest and refresh. For our education professionals, spring break looks a little different. There is a little bit of resting and relaxation I’m sure, but breaks like these pose a perfect time to work on department projects and actually get something accomplished without having to primarily focus on students’ needs.
Imagine being a parent trying to clean and organize your house with kids running around everywhere, needing a snack every 5 minutes. Now, think about how much easier it would be to get that cleaning and organizing done if you had a break from the kids, noise and distractions in the house. My guess is that you would get WAY more done with the latter. I recently sat down with one of our Business Development Specialists, Trey Flick, who works and communicates first-hand with his education clients. He gave us some great insight into how school districts across the country use breaks (like spring break, winter break, and summer break) to their advantage.
“These IT teams get overwhelmed. When these breaks occur, this is an opportunity for them to be able to rely on businesses like us that can come in and help with the overflow.
It’s nice to be able to provide that value when districts need it.”
Trey works with a handful of educational clients that have varying needs. Some of them do consistent device maintenance throughout the year because they have the resources and extra devices to be able to do that. Other school districts with less excess devices available aren’t so lucky, so they have to be more strategic with their breaks.
“I’ve had a few districts reach out and say, ‘Hey, Trey – I’ve got these devices, but I need to keep them in students hands. Can I get them to you over spring break?’ It speaks to the cyclical piece of our business to help when districts need it and when they have time.”
Luckily, we can accommodate all different types of requests whether it’s a strict turnaround time, high volume or a white glove service (check out our Between Two Tablets episode here that covers our White Glove Services). Trey goes on to talk about one customer in particular who is needing our help in a number of different ways:
“I have one client and he’s literally not getting any new devices until the end of the year when they’re rolling new ones out. But he has devices going out all the time, so he’s just sending them in by the seat of his pants, trying to get them back in the hands of students. So it is interesting to see how school districts are very lean. I don’t think that people think about that as much as they should, and it’s nice to be able to help.”
Repairs During Breaks
We also talked about the different types of repairs we see during breaks vs during the regular school season. You might guess that those are very different. The repairs we see during the school season are more ‘do or die’ repairs. Meaning that if it’s not repaired, it doesn’t really work.
“I think during the school year we see a lot of motherboard repairs. You know, where devices literally will not function if we don’t perform the repair. Sometimes we see headphone jack repairs, keyboard repairs, things like that over breaks because devices will still function, but they won’t function properly.”
It also depends a lot on the specific school district and the resources that they have available to them. Some school districts are fortunate enough to have a stack of backup devices that they can use and do those smaller maintenance repairs in the meantime. Some other school districts that are maybe a little bit smaller so they just don’t have that surplus available. Those are the ones that need literally every functioning device that they can get their hands on. Trey highlights the fact that there has been a national shortage of devices for months now with COVID playing such a huge role in virtual learning. With most school districts being 1:1 (meaning that for every 1 student there is 1 device for them to use), that has a huge impact on students’ learning.
“If they’re out 10 devices, 10 of their students don’t have a device. With a working from home environment that’s a pretty big deal. So that makes these brakes pretty important.”
Lean and Mean IT Teams
As I mentioned above, some school districts just have more money than others, plain and simple. More resources = more people. Our clients range all over that spectrum, and we are able to help each of them with their specific needs.
“One of my clients has a network of 20,000 students, and the IT team is a large team. Another client that I’m planning on helping in the summer is a client in Iowa. They have about 1,200 students, and they only have two associates on their IT staff. So when the summer starts, the IT Director asked me, ‘Hey, Trey – can you and Techcycle help with streamlining an overview of what our devices look like?'”
This includes cleaning and inspecting them, completing repairs as needed, and ensuring any devices covered by warranties are sent back accordingly. A team of two people doesn’t have time to go through 1,200 devices, so that’s where we can come in and help during the summer break. This also allows them to focus on other projects they may want to tackle during the summer months as well like rolling out a new software or updating any platforms they use. Life keeps moving in the education world during these breaks so we are able to play a part in helping them focus on what really matters.
TCS Busy Seasons
So, what do these ‘breaks’ look like for us here at TCS? If you think about it, most school districts are on a pretty similar schedule from a break standpoint. On our end, that means we get to have busy seasons! We stay committed to our clients’ timelines because we know the impact these devices have in the classroom (and in the commercial sector as well). That downtime is crucial, so that means we have to fine-tune our processes to be able to handle high volume seasons efficiently. Sometimes, that means extra hands helping out and doing things they don’t normally do. Like our Sales team helping with QA or our Operations Manager stepping in and doing a few tablet repairs. We do everything in our power to keep the process moving keeping high quality top of mind.
All the best,