This school year I have been conducting 1-on-1 student interviews to figure out what these wireless devices are getting used for. Communication? Yup, happening all the time. Obviously, there’s plenty of room to improve student online communication using tools like email, chat and social media…but it is certainly happening. Collaboration? Yup, every student I talked to mentioned using Google Drive/Docs for group work. The next step would be using tools to collaborate outside the school with other students and experts, but the first rung on the ladder of collaboration has been reached. Productivity? Again, every student spoke about researching, writing and organizing. The effectiveness of said productivity would clearly be the place to look for growth over time.
Creativity? We certainly have neat pockets where students are using technology to engage in biotech research and creating presentations for a local company on new conference rooms, but that type of engagement isn’t as prevalent. I feel like you roll the devices out, provide a little bit of training the the top pieces listed above SHOULD take care of themselves. All of it’s important, but I don’t think I need to go out on a research-based Dan Pink/Tom Friedman/Sir Ken Robinson lecture on creativity. They’re all better at that and as the Bare Naked Ladies once said – It’s All Been Done. No need to remake the point.
As an ed tech leader, providing great support is important to the organization. Obviously, it needs to be friendly support, but it needs to be timely so students and teachers can get back to learning. Other staff members need to get back to supporting learning as is possible. My friends in other districts have been tracking the amount of time a ticket is open for years, which is something I started paying attention to last winter. We’ve made great strides based on personal growth, teamwork with folks who are now more familiar (we had 50% turn over in 2013-2014) and better partnerships. CDW-G and Lenovo have been great partners repairing warranty and accidental damage repairs. I’d suggest them to anyone. While we’ve made improvements, we can always improve here. I’d love to have a year where we stay under 20 work hours for an average ticket.
I’m moving myself in the direction of focusing on these two areas – Creativity and Efficiency. They seem like strange bedfellows, but I think they are two of the most important things I can work to focus on in the coming months to drive improvement in the organization.
What are your priorities?