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EdTech Update





Technology skeptic - and proud

Thank you for articulating what some of us are thinking but perhaps afraid to say for fear of being labeled a stick in the mud or a fuddy-duddy. I am not necessarily opposed to a maker space, but it should serve a real purpose and not just be a fun extra. I think your questioner is right that librarians have been too eager to add whatever they can in an attempt to be relevant and it has cost us by eroding our core mission. Robin in a comment on recent post

Skeptic. Cynic. Fuddy-Duddy.  Technophobe. Reactionary.


Critical thinker. Fiscally responsible. Team player. Realist.

An early column of mine "There Isn't a Train I Wouldn't Take" and an article written a few years later "The PSLA (Probability of Large Scale Adoption) Predictors" both urged a retrained and thoughtful approach when considering adding new technologies to a school. A simple rubric from the later article looks at some criteria to consider before writing the check and developing the implementation plan:

I am not sure what I was thinking when listing Usefullness/need as just one (and not even the first) criteria in this list.  If the considered new technology, program, or method does not actually address a genuine need in the district nor does it align with the district's mission and strategic plan, why even mess with the other criteria?

As I concluded earlier "A dollar spent on a failure is one less dollar spent on something beneficial to our students. New initiatives need to based on more than good sales pitch."

It's a zero sum game, folks. Let's do our best to make each dollar count. 

Your friendly fuddy-duddy.


Learn to do these 5 things and you will seen as a tech guru

I only half-jokingly attribute my longevity as a technology director to my membership in a large, active service club (Kiwanis). This group met each Monday afternoon and consisted of influential people like city and county officials, school board members, college professors, and business leaders. And for many years, I was viewed as the technology guru of that organization since I could hook up about any laptop computer to our club's LCD projector. How could the school possibly fire anyone who was that tech savvy!

Here are 5 more skills you should master and you too can be considered a technology expert:

  1. Doing a GoogleSearch to solve a problem - but letting others assume you knew the solution all along.
  2. Getting a computer on the wireless network.
  3. Clearning a browser's cache to free memory.
  4. Doing a search for contents of a drive.
  5. Oh, and rebooting to solve about 95% of all technology problems.

As I admitted in my column "The Changing Role of the Technology Director" Educational Leadership, April 2013, my "tech skills" have changed:

Even though I couldn't install a router if my life depended on it, I can describe in plain English things like routers, packet shapers, firewalls, deployment servers, thin clients, Active Directory, DaaS, WAPs, and a whole host of TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms)—what they are, what they do, why they are important, and what specs to think about when considering them.  

But it is still kind of nice to be viewed as a hands-on tech whiz now and again.

What's the one magic trick you perform to cement your reputation as a techno-wizard?


BFTP: Ford or Chevy

Which is better

  • a Mac or a PC?
  • Chromebook or iPad
  • GoogleDoc or Office 365?
  • iOS or Android?
  • Skype or Google Hangout?
  • Dropbox or GDrive?
  • PowerPoint or Keynote?
  • BYOD or 1:1?
  • Print or ebooks

Anybody else every get a little weary of the debates surrounding these competitive products, services, and programs?

Especially when the primary focus is on personal preference. Based on limited experience with both options. Without reference to educational objectives and realities.

When I was a little boy growing up on the prairie, playground conversations often revolved around whether Fords or Chevys were the best cars. Your side was pretty much always determined by what brand car your parent drove.

Has the level of debate improved? I wonder.

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Original post September 19, 2012