I have no doubt that AI will be able to do great things in the classroom with the right data, tutorials and privacy configuration in place. The future is bright in my opinion. On the other hand, I read this piece from MIT Technology Review and it got me thinking of requests other school technology leader have gotten…
…I want an Amazon Echo in my classroom…or I want Google Home.
My question is “what’s the point?” Other than to act innovative or wanting to make IT look like the bad guy with network shackles, I fail to see the reason we want something in the classroom kids and blurt out questions to and (maybe) get an answer. As the MIT piece opens with, my kids also like to ask Alexa to play Raining Tacos…but for learning. I’m not seeing it. Answers to questions are a question in Google away. The need for AI assistants in classrooms isn’t a legitimate learning need. It’s a gadget in search of a problem to fix or need to meet.
This guy (down and to the right) thought he had it all figured out. It was year two as an administrator and with a few grad school classes he’d be on his way to being a business manager and then a superintendent. Being a tech director was a means to an end. The end was a step up in the administrative food chain and more money. Yes, money was a motivator. A big one. I know how messed up that is now. That next nickle here or there was just a DPI License away….
Except I realized I didn’t like the other work that would be necessary. Passion for managing business office functions? Passion for understanding the 50 different accounts for Wisconsin public schools? Interest in managing insurance providers might have piqued some interest, but that was only one part of the job. Negotiating with teachers when all you can give is cost of living raises?
All these things are important duties, overseen and executed by great people. But none of these things have anything to do with what I’m actually passionate about. I’m passionate about support systems, helping people, solving complex problems and building teams that people want to be a part of. And yes, learning technologies, information technology, databases, cybersecurity…those are things I have a natural passion for. I drop everything to read up on them. I like talking at length with anybody about them. This is what I love to do. Heading into year five in my current role, this guy (to the right) now understands that.
Hopefully after four full school years I’m more than a little wiser than I once was. And hopefully my wisdom will lead me to better decisions in the months and years to come to help support my organization. One thing I’ll be doing for sure is fully embracing the Bill Belicheck “art of saying nothing”.
Happy start to the start of your 2017-2018 school year everyone!