Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Technology! Take Me Away!

I survived our PC Refresh last week. Through tech bond monies, we turned in 72 old desktop computers and received 80 brand spanking new ones. Nice! Of course, that meant days of plotting, mapping, and moving equipment -- thank you, Mr. Bobby and Ms. Pat, our custodians! -- and prepping for the team of movers and shakers. We also just setup four more laptop storage carts which included 60 more laptops.

While most folks would see this as an incredible addition to our technology resources, right now, I'm seeing it as 1000 more headaches and fires to put out when stuff doesn't work the way it's supposed to work. Printers need to be installed. Virus definitions need to be updated. Software needs to be installed on specific machines in specific rooms.

When did I sign on to be the technology facilitator at my school?!

The role of media coordinator has definitely changed, even in the almost 12 years that I have been out of the traditional classroom and in the library media center. There are tons more instructional technology resources to integrate into the core curriculae. The information skills that students need in order to navigate resources and the vast amounts of information have changed my instruction as well....or sometimes that lack of instruction. (See Please Don't Google Search!)

I'm not necessarily tired of the technology itself; I'm just tired of dealing with the equipment.

With over 200 desktops and 150 laptops on my small middle school campus, that's a heck of a lot of equipment to service! In most business models, there would at least be an IT person or some sort of technology specialist in the building to keep up the maintenance on the machines. While we have an incredible group of technology service folks in our district, there's only about 10-12 folks for over 150 schools that actually come out to take care of the equipment. A handful of others perform duties and updates remotely. But at the school level, that can be an overwhelming job for a classroom teacher, media coordinator, or instructional resources teacher who also is expected to wear the hat of technology coordinator.

I think my staff views me more as their technology specialist than as a library media coordinator and teacher. When I offered to work with one teacher's classes today, he looked at me with surprise and responded, "You can do that? Teach my kids?".

I've got to reclaim my true job description: planning, collaborating, teaching and integrating the information literacy skills into the curriculum.

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