Saturday, March 21, 2009

I had a conversation with some of our administration yesterday. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the "Agreement" discussions that we've been having. I shared the agreements that we accepted and the ones that were controversial.

One of the disagreements we had was on the subject of software adoption. In the agreement, teachers are expected to talk to the building tech and the community tech when they want to try new software. We are trying to get schools to coordinate their adoption of software across the district rather than doing isolated or singular adoptions that are difficult to support and train. Talking to the building and community tech could help us to work together to create more understanding and a broader adoption. Though I would love to have more focused, district adoption of software, I've adjusted to the idea that each school might choose their own. We struggle to support all the exceptions but it isn't so difficult when we have some warning what is coming. As a contrast... curriculum adoption is a district wide process. We agree that teachers should be using the same curriculum but it appears that software is different than curriculum.

Needless to say, I'm surprised by our difference of opinion. We haven't placed many restrictions on software adoption. We try to be as accommodating as we can. But it wouldn't be prudent to let people to go in any and all directions. The majority of staff don't even know the potential of the software they have on their computers. I am more than happy to work with people when they have software that needs to be installed and there are many that we support. Others ask for support in our "tech questions" conference. They are active in asking for things and we are active in helping them. Bottom line... it is frustrating to be told that we don't help people when we help anyone and everyone that asks for help.

Over and above this "software installation" business is the fact that there is a ton of software available on the Internet for free. There is little need for anyone to purchase software. If they do need to purchase something, the best applications are WEB APPLICATIONS.

At the bottom of this discussion is the disconnect between me and my administration on the business of technology adoption/management. I am sooooo... frustrated, that we aren't speaking the same language, that we don't have a common understanding of technology management and that I am not connected to the people who are allegedly dissatisfied.

Here's what I'd like:

  • Acknowledge that we can help teachers meet their needs with technology adoption. Acknowledge that we have good intentions to help them.
  • Give us time to do training so that teachers get a better idea of the software already at their disposal.
  • When teachers have a need, let us talk to them about what they are trying to accomplish. Perhaps we can direct them to software that is on their computer or that is free on the Internet.
  • If they need software that isn't readily available, we can help them find software that meets their needs.
  • Expect that schools, or that departments (district-wide) adopt common software. If the software they adopt is so good, others will surely agree and want to use it.
  • Understand that support and training will be more effective when we specialize.