April 27, 2017 by readlisaread
I received a question from a friend today about the organization of our tech department. In my time in this role, one of the things that I know to be true is that there are very few other technology departments that are run like ours. The biggest difference between us and them is that they have Technology Experts in charge of their departments. Now, gentle reader, you would be forgiven for asking why a technology department WOULDN’T be run by Technologists, and certainly in most business realms, this seems the sensible decision. But education, as I frequently remind you, is NOT a business. We do not make Things. We create learning. Yes, I said it– we CREATE learning, and learning opportunities. Educators head up most departments in the district, with the exception of Finance, Operations, and Transportation and that makes sense, since…. those parts are the Business parts. And, yes, you COULD argue that Technology, as an infrastructure piece, should fall in there too. And I would see your point… but let me explain.
A technologist looks at technology through a very different lens than an end user. A technologist has to think of the entire network, his comfort level with the equipment and operating system, and a myriad of other scenarios. The end user doesn’t know or care about those things, they just want their device to work. And, technologists (or My Nerdlings) have their own biases. Educators, while certainly also human, and also susceptible to biases, work to ignore theirs. We constantly think in terms of differentiation, the right tool for the job, and reframing content. We don’t think of blanket solutions and uniformity.
And there, as they say, is the rub…. we ask our team to offer solutions and we work together to get the tech to work to meet the educational objectives. The tail can’t wag the dog. But at the same time, I can’t do my job without the support of my department. And so rather than thinking of it as a dichotomy (dog vs tail) or a hierarchy (teachers vs techs), I think of it this way: Pedagogy is the driver….but technology is the accelerator. I should put that on a business card…
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