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IT for Teaching

The tasks that teachers accomplish using IT systems can be differentiated into two categories. First, are the highly predictable tasks that resemble those performed by business users. IT professionals can plan and test functionality. These tasks include many of the data management tasks such as recording attendance and grades for which teachers are responsible. It Read More

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Computers Arrive in Schools

In the 1970’s computers entered the consumer market, and hobbyists began purchasing computers. By 1981, personal computers could be purchased for less than $1000, and amateur enthusiasts (including children) were writing their own programs to satisfy their own interests and curiosities, but consumer computers were still marginalized and largely a hobby. Joseph Deken, a statistician Read More

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On IT Roles in Schools

In schools today, most professionals who work with technology typically fall into one of six groups. The descriptions of the duties assigned to these individuals illustrate the range of tasks necessary to manage and use the very complex information technology infrastructure encountered in a typical school and the scale of the system that requires support: Read More

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Some Technology Decisions are Permanent in Schools

Early in the history of computers in schools, they typically purchased and supported only one operating system. Schools were “Apple” schools or “IBM” schools; later they were Macintosh or Windows schools. Ostensibly, decisions were made for financial reasons (PC’s were generally assumed to be less expensive than Macintoshes) or for educational reasons (“PC’s are what Read More

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Where the Rationale for School IT Breaks Down

In my experience, that last point is where school IT decision-making breaks down. Organizations have different strategic goals, and they accomplish those goals by setting different priorities and adopting different strategies. IT professionals who have learned their craft in organizations other than schools are often unfamiliar with the urgency of malfunctioning academic systems. During my Read More

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Special Use IT in Schools

In addition to the fleets of computers maintained for populations such as students and teachers, schools are places where special purpose computers and peripherals are found. In makerspaces, science laboratories, studios, workshops, and other special teaching spaces, there are computing devices necessary for specialized educational activities. Examples include: