layers of school IT

A Harsh Reality About IT and School Leaders

Information technology. All schools need it. All schools have it. All schools hire individuals with expertise in managing it to… well… manage it. In this post, I describe a reality that many recognize in their schools, but they are reluctant to admit it.  This post calls out the inability of school leaders to provide effective Read More

layers of school IT

Let’s Diversify Computer Education

I heard through the grapevine—one comprising trusted individuals—that a former student was interviewing for a job as an IT professional. My name came up in their conversations as members of the interview team know me and knew the candidate had been my student. The message I got through the grapevine is that my former student Read More

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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

layers of school IT

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: