Friday, February 25th, 2011 | Maintenance
All computer installations require regular maintenance; a gradual degradation of the system is to be expected unless such maintenance occurs. The following types of maintenance are relevant in technology facilities in our schools.
Adaptive maintenance, where improvements to the system are necessary to adapt to changing working procedures, such as when earphones, peripherals, or additional workstations must be installed to cater for changing educational needs, or when new software products are introduced.
Corrective maintenance, where ongoing improvements are made (bug fixing) to ensure the system still meets the original user requirements. Fixing is required when a person makes a mistake (for example unintentionally deleting an essential piece of software, or changing a system parameter), when a hardware component malfunctions, when the system has to be restored from a backup after a crash, when the system has to be restored after a virus attack and in other such scenarios.
Perfective maintenance, where the system is made safer to operate, refined and made easier for teachers to use. Perfective maintenance aims at making the system as effective as possible for teachers, so that the use of the technology does not put the emphasis on the technology but on teaching and learning.
Upgrades – these are required when the entire system – or parts of the system – has become too old to be useful and must be replaced.
Preventive maintenance (also called predictive maintenance), where steps are taken to avert potential disasters. This includes making regular backups and updating anti-virus software.
Warranty checking – this has been found to be a cost effective maintenance technique. Just before the warranty on hardware expires each piece of equipment is thoroughly inspected and all defective components referred to the vendor for replacement.
Clearly, maintenance is a complex matter and its importance can never be over-emphasized. It forms an essential part of protecting the investment made in technology and it provides continuity of access in the schools.