New Technology Specialist at JSMS

Conner Hall, Web Editor

The tech support position at John Sevier Middle School has been like the Defense against the Dark Arts post at Hogwarts in “Harry Potter”; it seems there is someone new filling the position every year. This year, the school welcomed Lucas Trent to the position of tech support.

“I’m the technology specialist here at John Sevier, which means that any issue that arises related to computers, tablets, phones, or anything that connects to them will land in my daily operational support,” Trent said. “I also manage the technology inventory and coordinate repairs.”

Trent wasn’t actually planning to work in technology at first.

“After finishing high school, I attended Northeast State, originally in broadcasting, but I never greatly cared to be in front of the camera, as such, my path altered,” Trent said. “From there, I found myself working with ETSU in Educational Technology, much by chance actually. I also got the opportunity to be a web designer for a small engineering firm and use those skills at ETSU, as well.”

When Trent is not helping students and teachers with computer issues, he has several hobbies he enjoys.

“I find myself enjoying the company of my family most; my wife and I play video games together including Paragon and Destiny, along with my brother,” Trent said. “You might say we are an introverted sort, but it is because we find our time such a treasure to be spent together. We also live with our two Maltese dogs, Piper and Winston, as well as a gentlemanly axolotl named Dratini.”

At first, Trent was introduced to computers via his father through a programming language called TRUCK, which organized the movements of commercial trucks. He was interested in playing video games, as well. During his youth, there was only basic computer technology, so there was not much to learn.

Today, Trent’s job includes helping students and teachers, but also other district employees. He does repairs for students and does troubleshooting for teachers.

Most of the time, Trent has a full day.

“I would say that 75% of my time is spent on student repairs,” Trent said. “Usually, broken screens, loose hard drives and a few wireless issues. I get a lot of incoming work from that, so issuing repairs can last me most of the day. The remainder of the time is spent supporting teacher issues that arise. Those vary greatly and can range from password issues to checking that the giant server on campus that delivers their Wi-Fi is functioning correctly.”

Trent has some advice for students about taking care of their laptops.

“I think students forget that these devices do not belong to them, they are property of the city, so it is very important to remember that you need to treat them with the respect you would give anything that was not your own,” Trent said. “Specifically, I would tell them not to leave their earbuds or pencils in the keyboard; that breaks a ton of screens.”

Many students and teachers at Sevier complain about the Wi-Fi, but Trent says there is a reason why many feel it is subpar.

“Wi-Fi networks are costly by nature of the technology behind them; also some buildings [like Sevier] were not made with network infrastructure in mind,” Trent said. “To be honest, it’s quite complicated and can vary by distance, device or the hardware behind it. So if you ask ‘what’s up with the Wi-Fi’ I have to ask ‘where’ and ‘on what’.”

However, there are some things students and teachers can do to help.

“Most importantly, keep your device up to date,” Trent said. “Often the devices across campus are set to update themselves but get interrupted for various reasons. When a device gets behind, it can easily miss a vital bit of software that tells the device how to communicate with the network.”

Trent enjoys his job, as he doesn’t have many complaints.

“The best part is being able to see the infrastructure that holds everything together,” Trent said. “There is a ton going on in the background that keeps things running. Seeing that in motion, and its complexity, is fascinating. That also means we have to learn something every day; new updates, systems, and hardware all keep us on our toes.”

Today, much of education is done on computers, compared to paper and pencil in the past.

“In part, it is a result of changing times,” Trent said. “More broadly, I would say it’s for the workforce. We are transitioning that way, to technology and tech systems, and the role of education is to prepare the next group that will take over one day, so moving in this direction, in the long term, is for teaching students how to use what they will need to know the rest of their lives. I use paper and pencil, but as the years go by, I use it less and less.”

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