On Expertise In School Technology

Schools are also organizations that rely on diverse expertise, and this is especially true in relation to information technology. Early in the history of desktop computing in schools, it was common to find tech-savvy teachers who supported and managed the devices. Even today, there are many tech-savvy educators who have successfully installed consumer grade networks and systems. As sophisticated networks and devices were installed, schools found it necessary to hire technology professionals to manage the IT. Many tech-savvy individuals conflate their ability to use systems and to maintain consumer grade systems with the capacity to manage the enterprise networks that are installed in our schools. 

The executive leaders of school districts are licensed educators, and they are responsible for all school operations, including the IT. Because these professionals tend to have been prepared to teach, and most states require teaching experience to earn a school administrator license, these individuals tend to have limited direct experience managing IT systems.  As a result, many initiatives are proposed, and even undertaken, without complete consideration of the technology implications. 

It is also true that many technology decisions have important implications for school operations, including teaching and learning. For these reasons, collaboration is particularly important for information technology professionals in schools. The leaders often have very weak knowledge of IT and the IT professionals have very weak knowledge of education.