Should Students Call Tech Support

Tech Support

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I have heard many Teachers of the Visually Impaired (TVIs) voice frustration with themselves for not being fluent in every part of each of their student’s assistive technology devices. And that’s when those devices are working perfectly! Imagine what those teachers say when one of those devices isn’t working perfectly. I too have felt that way but as a Teacher of the Visually Impaired, our job is to support students with visual impairments in learning in all 9 areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum (areas in addition to the standard curriculum in which students with visual impairments don’t learn incidentally in the same way as their peers).  We also often forget that our students might range in age from birth to twenty-two years old, crossing more than Pre-k through 12th grade. How many other teachers do you know that are responsible for even just familiarity in that many subjects and developmental levels, much less multiple different pieces of assistive technology?

Do the No Tech Support Happy Dance

Tech Support Happy Dance

First, give yourself a pat on the back for all that you do know and all that you’re able to “wing” on a regular basis to support your students’ immediate needs. Now, embrace the beauty that the manufacturers are the experts in their individual pieces of assistive technology, and they are only a phone call or email away.  You don’t have to memorize multiple user’s manuals! Happy dance!  Now, should your students memorize the user’s manual either?  That’s a definite no! But a definite “yes!”, is that students do need to know how to find the user’s manual, how to contact the manufacturers of their devices, and how to ask specific questions of tech support to find out the information that they need to use their device efficiently, or to troubleshoot technical issues. 

Empower them to be responsible for their own tech support

While it’s awesome that they have such an amazing TVI today who is willing to place those calls for them, it’s in the student’s best interest to be included in reading the user’s manual, making those phone calls, or sending those emails to tech support. Students who observe their TVIs reading the user’s manual, calling tech support, and sending emails are getting the example that they need to make the leap and contact tech support themselves, now, and as adults.  Even better, let students progressively take over more and more of the process until they have learned to take responsibility for their own tech support needs. I think that makes you even more of an awesome TVI!

Check out our blog, Do We Need To Teach Blind Students Braille With Today’s Technology?

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