Thinking about IT Professionals and Technology in Schools

This is part of the introduction to my book Technology in Schools: It’s Not Like This in Business which was recently released under CC-BG-NC-SA.

“The technology systems installed in schools support all many educational and operational functions.. These are seriously complex systems. In the vocabulary of IT professionals, they are enterprise systems (or perhaps business systems in small schools) and managing them requires specialized expertise, so schools employ a variety of professionals to manage the networks, keep end-user devices functioning, and keep data systems secure.  

Usually, IT professionals arrive in schools with little knowledge of education beyond their experiences as students. Programs that train IT professionals (trade schools, professional organizations, community colleges, and universities) focus on the technology and how it supports general business and management operations; educational uses of computers or the nature of students and teachers as IT users are rarely the focus of lessons preparing information technology professionals. As a result, many who are hired as IT professionals in schools have deep knowledge of IT and strategies for keeping business users productive and content, but they find those strategies are not as effective in schools. No IT professional wants users of their systems to be unproductive and discontent. “