I serve on our school’s Educational Technology Committee. The committee is charged with identifying and anticipating the school’s technology needs; developing plans to address those needs; and ultimately, helping to develop the policies, procedures, and infrastructure that can help make those plans a reality in the lives of our students and faculty.
Over the years, we’ve had some very satisfying successes!
- Our internet filtering is been greatly improved! Videos sent to students by their teachers used to be blocked on our servers … NO MORE!!! Blogs of any kind and any service with the word “blog” in its name used to be blocked by our servers (like say crazy time wasting stuff such as … Bloglines) … (and the ever memorable, “What’s so valuable about blogs? Do we really want our kids reading blogs?” … seriously, dude??? You’re on the Ed Tech Committee, time to actually USE some of the tech, huh?) … NO MORE!!!
- We put a course management system, Moodle, in place.
- We hired a Technology Integration Specialist to work with teachers.
You get the idea.
At times, as is the typical ebb and flow of committees we got bogged down in frustrating details but all in all I think the committee has done some really good things. Well, our Head of School attended today’s committee meeting and put out to the group how we thought things were going. “Is the committee working the way it needs to? Is it too big? Is it representative enough? Is it frustrating?” The discussion that ensued was very interesting. It became quite clear that over the last year, I really bugged the crap out of a number of the other members of the committee. Primarily, I was a rabid dog about one single issue over much of the last year. The wiring in one of our buildings. Let me explain.
You see, over a period of YEARS one of our buildings has had wiring issues. Drops for Internet access, power cords for teacher’s computers, cables that teachers use to hook up to classroom projection systems were in horrible places. In some cases, cords ran across the carpeting at the front of the room where teachers often stood to deliver instruction. Teachers tripped on cords which, in one case, sent a laptop flying across a room. It was crazy. Requests were made through every channel possible by teacher after teacher and for YEARS nothing happened until teachers just gave up and learned to live with it. When we would bring up new technology initiatives the reaction from most of our faculty was always the same, “Don’t talk to me about new technology when we can’t even make the technology we have now usable!!!”
The way that I look at it, why bother talking about a “big picture” for technology when the small, solvable irritations and frustration of everyday life are closing off teachers’ minds to anything new so I brought up the wiring issue at every friggin’ opportunity that I had. The bottom line is that almost everybody around the table eventually was sick of me being a friggin’ rabid dog …
Anyway, after a lot of pain and one of my colleagues on the committee getting his head chopped off and his body thrown under a bus, metaphorically speaking of course, for doing exactly what the committee told him to do. Our building now has wiring that has been re-routed and while not perfect, is livable for the time being.
I may have pissed off a bunch of people, but I don’t apologize and I don’t regret doing it for one second. Sometimes the small stuff counts …