I can relate to Doug Johnson’s blog post The Changing Role of Tech Support. In his blog, he describes how some district’s:
“…technology departments are raising barriers rather than creating possibilities about new resources – especially when the objections seem rather spurious (security of GoogleApps, bandwidth for YouTube, predators on Facebook, licensing of Skype, etc.). Are the concerns real or just because the way of doing something is different?”
In a recent discussion… blaming problems of spyware, malware it was the opinion of some districts tech departments to block and lock down everything – including teacher systems. Software like Deep Freeze, was being installed on teacher computers and teachers did not have “administrative” rights to bypass this security allowing them to install software, including opensource/free apps. They (techs) decide what apps are allowed on the machines and teachers are left to talk the techs into installing the software for them, when it is convenient to the techs.
One example given was a district decision NOT to support or install JING, a free screen capture tool from Techsmith. The district only supported Camstudio, another free app. As an advocate for transparent educational technology – I really want my teachers to find the tool that they are most comfortable with to adapt and – most of all – integrate into their classrooms to support student learning. I am more proud of the fact they are recording tutorials/resources for their students rather than scrutinizing what tool they want to use to do it.
Doug describes this problem as techs being reluctant to change. I would agree. Just as teachers need to move from the “sole givers of information” techs also need to move from the “sole givers of the technology”. Do you think a better understanding of classroom pedagogy and instructional design would help these reluctant districts accept that teachers need to have the flexibility to find, install, and practice with emerging tools to match and support their students individual learning styles and needs?
I will admit – I genuinely enjoy collaborating with (not policing) teachers when trying THEIR new ideas within their classrooms! The benefits to our students have been AMAZING!