Keeping tech running smoothly a growing concern for some school districts
- Keeping the technology within school districts running smoothly requires careful coordination between central office technology staff members and field techs who address specific needs at the school level, District Administration reports.
- As school districts strive to provide nimble responses to technical issues and have as little down time as possible, they must assign field tech staff members based on a number of factors, such as the geographical size of the district, the number of schools, the type of technology used at each school and traffic patterns within the district.
- Some schools are now enlisting the aid of high school students in tech support Internship classes to handle routine issues that do not breach network security, allowing these students to gain experience while saving the school district time and money.
Imagine for a moment what would happen if all the technology within a school district failed for even a day. In many classes, planned lessons would have to be ditched because laptops and tablets would not function. Communications would come nearly to a halt. Many security features would fail. Most departments, including finance and data collection, would also go off line.
School districts today — for better or worse — have become technology-dependent. Superintendents and other district leaders must be concerned with issues of technology because they are so embedded in the educational process. In fact, the University of North Carolina, which now offers a certification program for educational chief technology officers, requires that the school superintendent attend some of the sessions. The justification is that “superintendents and educational technology directors are facing increasing challenges and responsibilities in this era. As the lines between traditional functional services and departments begin to blur, senior and IT leadership are charged with 1) managing the constantly expanding role for IT within the [local education agency], 2) protecting the [local education agency] from ever-increasing security threats, and 3) keeping up with the pace of new technology.”
The expanding role of technology in education has created new job titles and responsibilities. In addition to chief technology officers, which oversee the technology aspects, school media specialists also help connect students and teachers to the digital resources and introduce other new technology. In addition, instructional technology directors serve as “classroom coaches and content experts in districts determined to use devices, digital learning and other technology to their full instructional potential,” and technicians support the technology. With all of these demands, the use of students as tech support is an efficient strategy.
- District Administration K12 IT: Here, there, everywhere