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Elevator Pitch: School IT Decisions

It is important for all IT professionals who work in school to understand the nature of the users and their specific needs. Every decision made and every action taken by IT professionals (regardless of their role) affects end users either directly (by providing troubleshooting, training, and other support) or indirectly (by installing and configuring systems Read More

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On School Planning

In general, one can surmise there is consensus regarding the role of formal educational systems: the public supports and maintains the system to prepare youngsters to participate in the economic, political, and cultural life of society. The nature of the experiences designed to meet this purpose changes over time. Traditionally, the domain of education includes 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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Technology and Communication Problems

Organizations are created to serve a purpose. For schools, it is (ostensibly) to make people “smart.” We know, of course, that when systems are created, their purpose immediately changes to sustaining itself rather than fulfilling its purpose, but let’s ignore that for this post. We who work in organizations complete tasks and solve problems that 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: 

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IT Tradeoffs in Schools

School users are also well-known for trading reliability for functionality and ease. IT professionals know that systems can be configured to perform many more functions than are typically used. Further, many users will use only a fraction of the tools and features available in the applications they use. Of course, using these tools and features Read More

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Edtech for IT: Learning Management Systems

Virtual classrooms took on particular importance to teachers and students with the quick pivot to remote teaching necessitated by the COVID pandemic. Even before that, however, virtual classrooms were being managed by school IT professionals and teachers were using them to extend their classrooms and enhance information sharing and interaction. Like other cloud-based infrastructure in Read More

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A Technology Decision-Making Case to Consider

Let’s consider a situation that illustrates how proper, appropriate, and reasonable configurations of IT can influence teaching and learning. I was asked to help resolve some “network problems” in a school. Math teachers had complained that students could not access the online grade book from the computers provided under the recently begun one-to-one initiative. It Read More