Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Loneliness of the School ICT Manager

The last 12 months has been a bit of a revelation to me.  Since leaving All Saints' I've talked to school ICT Managers across the board in schools ranging from the large rapidly growing schools to the medium sized school which is shrinking and the small school not changing too much.

I now realise how fortunate I was being able to obtain the funding I needed to keep the infrastructure up to a Corporate standard.  Many schools battle for any amount of funding for ICT even though it is now expected that ICT will be critical in delivering curriculum. 

When Managers in schools are forced to keep inappropriate technology operational even though they're operating end point counts higher than you would see in any IT environment in medium - large business.  You need to look at the Corporate or Government sector to see more than 1000 concurrent users in an IT environment but that's normal in the larger schools.  Even small K-12 schools with 400 - 500 end points are not inconsequential. 

One of the challenges is school executives expect ICT will just work like it does at home with very low funding level.  If you search the Internet for information about technology in schools you will find thousands of articles from educators and for educators, however, there are very few for the technical person working in the support of the classroom technology. 

Some companies take it more seriously and will publish information targeting the IT Manager, one example is an excellent blog post by Brett North from Computelec "Measuring up to the Mythical Man" which is no longer available but still relevant.  However, there are, from my experience, very few peer generated resources for those working at the coal face providing technical support for classroom use of ICT.

I have always felt frustration around that short coming in the fact there are fragmented groups around Australia but no opportunity for a group large enough to be a 'go to' for all those involved in ICT technical support in Education.  This makes it quite a lonely life being a person looking for resources supporting the case for change/improvement for infrastructure and support options.