I feel compelled to write a quick post about a recurring statement I continue to hear and even sometimes say. As more options become available for devices in education, we look to see what will best suit the needs of the students and maximize our instructional time. What will be durable? Which has the fastest boot up time? Will this device meet the specifications for online testing? All of these questions, and many more, must be answered. Then we have our infrastructure decisions. What will provide the most bang for you buck? What is the best choice to stay current and competitive? What will be the most user friendly? These decisions are imperative in the process for getting an institution up and running to meet the needs of a, dare I say it, 21st Century classroom.
And then we hear the following statements, “it is not about the technology” and “it is not about the device”. Which is funny, because it is not about the technology for most educators. As administrators, coaches and teachers we want the technology to work and we want it to be seamless! We want it to be quick! We don’t want to know about any of the challenges of our IT department, we just would like everything running smoothly. Fair enough. Ideally, the new technology will generate the greatest impact on our teaching environment. We strive for our students to be engaged in authentic learning processes that provide them opportunity for choice and creativity while gaining mastery in a particular content standard. This is what educators want!
It isn’t about the device … until it doesn’t work. When the network is down or IP addresses are not redirecting properly. Then, it is all about the technology! and the technicians! Then we need our IT people to save the day!! Technicians are so very integral to this process of successful integration in education. The network managers, technicians and all those involved in the behind the scenes work diligently to build and maintain our technology environment so that we as educators can have a successful experience working with our staff and students and providing that optimal learning environment. IT are like the stage crew to a production. The show just can not go on without them!! Yet, they never come out and take a bow.
What am I trying to say? Be nice to the IT department. Say thank you to a technician even after they resolve the issue. Smile, even though you may not have needed something fixed that day. Say hi and good morning – even when they are not trouble shooting a problem. Appreciate the days when you may not have to put in a work ticket because the technology department has worked so hard to create an efficient environment. Be thankful for not even noticing the machines and the cables and the wiring and the access points and being able to focus on instruction. Because it isn’t about the technology, until it is.