As I wrote last night, I’ve taken CoSN’s CETL exam. That was step one in my personal learning path to build skills to support my district as an educational technology leader. I think this is a pretty obvious step for all in this role. Take a look, for more information on CoSN’s framework. Again, hopefully state departments of ed take note – no reason to reinvent the wheel.
Next I’ve decided to take on Cisco Certifications based on my own deficits and what I believe to be paramount in an ed tech leader’s skill set – a deeper understanding of networking. When I walked into my current position 19 months ago I wasn’t sure what a 10/100 switch was, had no clue about the 7 Layers of the OSI model (and maybe I don’t really need to know that), nor did I have much of an understanding of how a wireless network functioned. I’ve learned much on the job (I learned the 7 layers via reading and video training) but I believe I need a deeper understanding of what happens on a network for two reasons:
1) I know what the district needs and what the district needs to buy without relying solely on a vendor or reseller
2) So I can serve as a backup support if something happens with the network when network staff are out of the district.
In order to meet this learning need, I plopped down $60 for 6-months of access to Cisco’s own training videos for CCENT (Cisco Certified Entry Networking Techncian) and CCNA (Cisco Certified Networking Associate) credentials. I’ll start out with the CCENT exam hopefully this spring and move onto the CCNA from there. In terms of technical certificates, the next one I have interest in is CompTIA’s Storage+ offering. We’re in the middle of exploring SAN solutions so I’ve learned on the job, and find it interesting enough to pursue further. 6 months ago I had no clue what SATA or SAS drives were, nor what the heck a 7.2k RPM meant.
This morning I talked to a former colleague about this approach. He is from an IT background and his interest lies in the ITIL Certification, which focuses on Service Delivery and Service Support. This is another worthy learning path that directly applies to supporting the organization. Another fellow director is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt – this learning has helped him drive support efficiency in his department. I’ve thought that project management credentials through the Project Management Institute would be another quality goal for down the road as well.
The bottom line, is we all bring different skills to the table. How we supplement them in up to us. Personally, I have far too many interests to keep going back to grad school, so independent learning through books and videos is the route I’m going to focus on for now. Don’t get my wrong, I loved grad school…I hope I have a PhD still in me after our boys are a little more independent, but I think this route can give me an opportunity to focus my sometimes scattered curiosities and grow my skill sets.