As we look to the future, every K-12 technology leader reading this article should consider the following challenges:
- Forget about IT as you know it today;
- Get ready to outsource IT;
- Let go of the desire to control;
- Embrace diversity in the IT environment;
- Blow the lid off of storage limits; and
- Quit saying things like, “A wired network infrastructure will always be necessary because wireless will never be fast enough for everything.”
Ah, the one constant in our media and technology department since I started in 1991 has been change. There have never really been the same set of challenges, frustrations, and successes two years in a row. And according to this COSN paper cited above, we're in for another major shift (which we are already starting to experience). I wonder if the majority of school tech directors are getting the message?
Outsourcing, loss of control, diversity? Anathema to many "classically" trained IT folks, I realize. But as school leaders who are facing budget crunches come to realize that real cost savings can be had by moving to the cloud and contracting for maintenance, these uncomfortable realities will be the new "normal" in technology departments.
I see tech leadership skills moving from:
- Configuring a network or server to mediating a contract for an ASP.
- Supervising technicians to evaluating out-sourced work and setting up effective helpdesks.
- Writing technology plans to working inter-departmentally with curriculum, staff-development, public relations, assessment and strategic planning.
- Providing technology devices to staff and students to providing access to school resources for personal devices.
- Writing policies that dictate behaviors to writing guidelines and curricula that encourage safe and responsible use.
- Knowing less about the "how" of a new technology to the "why" of a new technology in education.
- Maintaining the status quo to selecting and planning for new technology applications and best practices.
Tech directors, we've been asking our schools to change for many years. Are we prepared to change our own roles?
Or is it: Change is good. You go first.
In what other ways is (or should) the role of IT leadership be changing?
*Unfortunately the complete report is a COSN "members only" publication. Too bad since the piece would be of value to superintendents and HR directors. I have been requested not to share it, so don't even ask...