IT Users in Schools

Educators import technology expertise from other industries—the individuals who manage your school network and repair malfunctioning computers probably learned their craft in a field other than education. What they learned about keeping devices functioning and providing you with robust and reliable service can be transferred from business or industry into schools.

There is an important difference, however, between IT management in business and industry and IT management in K-12 schools. The nature of the users.

In business and industry, IT managers know much about their users (for instance they have known literacy skills and they are likely to have very specific and unchanging needs). In education, IT users can very unpredictable, and in many cases emerging literacy skills; further, students and teachers use IT for very diverse and changing tasks.

Consider passwords. These are essential for keeping networks and systems secure, and IT managers are likely to require complex passwords to ensure security. Those passwords may prevent young users of school computers from logging on and using the machines.

In my recently published Efficacious Technology Management: A Guide for School Leaders (which is available under a Creative Commons license), I include this chart to summarize the differences between IT users in business and industry and IT users in schools: