The Help Desk: Find out what happens behind the counter

Many McNick students know they can turn to the school’s “help desk” if their tablet PCs are having problems. However, not everyone is aware of what goes on behind the scenes of the help desk.

The help desk is unique because most of its workers are students. Director of Educational Technology Adam Niemes and his Advanced Computer Technology students run the help desk. 

Advanced Computer Technology students receive basic training from Niemes and then have the opportunity to work directly with the tablets.  “I like that Advanced Computer Technology isn’t a typical academic class.  I get to work hands on with the tablets,” senior and 8th bell Advanced Computer Technology student Jake Belt said. 

Advanced Computer Technology can be taken as a semester or full-year course.  When students in this class are not working with a tablet, they participate in the online A+ certification course, which covers information on various technologies and operating systems. 

 If the students pass the test at the end of the course, they receive the A+ certification, a hardware repair certification.  “The A+ certification can be helpful on resumes and for specialty jobs,” junior and past Advanced Computer Technology student Conner Gerome said.  Their progress is measured by quizzes and written work.  They are also graded on their customer service and ability to solve tablet problems, as measured by Niemes.

With the 295 students that currently have tablets, the help desk is frequently at work.  The help desk receives tablets throughout the school day, mostly during lunch bells.  Advanced Computer Technology students can fix a majority of the tablet problems within 24 hours. This includes issues with DyKnow® and Microsoft OneNote®, which usually take a maximum of two hours to fix. The desk can also unblock students who are being cut off from applications like the internet and Microsoft Word® after class and need immediate access.  If a help desk student cannot fix a tablet, Niemes assists the repair.

In addition, Niemes and his students receive approximately three tablets every week that need extra attention to fix.  These more serious issues require Niemes to order new parts, which takes two or three days.  The two most common tablet parts that are replaced are the upper and lower covers, due to broken corners. 

Overall, Advanced Computer Technology students walk away from the help desk with experience.  “My favorite part of working at the help desk was getting to work with computers since I want to go into a field dealing with technology. One day, I got to take a tablet apart and rebuild it,” Gerome said.

While the help desk is a place of work, its workers have fun during down time.  “On a block day, one of the help desk students brought in a GameCube.  All I have to say is that Mr. Niemes is pretty good at GameCube,” Gerome said.

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