A few weeks ago in MSTU 4029, one of our professors said of his early career as a school tech that after spending some time fixing the computer problems of everyone on campus, he felt like he had a great sense of how a school worked. This caused me some serious déjà vu and maybe a little nostalgia.
As a technology director, I spent a lot of time trying to understand my colleagues’ needs so that I could help find (often but not always) technological solutions to their challenges. What’s the most challenging concept for the chemistry faculty to teach and how might a new technology enhance student learning of that concept? What acknowledgements does the development team need to produce and how might the production of those letters be streamlined? What measures would increase student safety in an emergency and what infrastructure to is needed to support those systems? How many places does a parent have to change their address to ensure that they receive all communications and how might that be reduced to make their experience better? A good tech person has to see forests and trees simultaneously – understanding how different people and the systems they use form an intricate ecosystem and how a small tweak to one part of that system will ripple throughout.
One of the joys of being a good tech director is getting to be a thought partner for people across your organization and being a part of positive change. So, if you’re considering working in school tech, you have a great opportunity in front of you. If you’re in a school but not in tech, consider your tech folks as potential problem solving partners even when technology isn’t the obvious solution. Chances are your tech folks have unexpected knowledge of your organization!