Overheard at My House

Ken is patient about listening to some of the tribulations of being a network administrator in a school district, and one of things he continues to be amazed by is the fact that so many technology directors in school districts are not technical at all. They are lots of other things….shop teachers who put together the first kit computer, the typing teacher who fiddles with pc’s at night and the school administrator who gets the job dumped on them (these are often Curriculum Coordinators because no one actually knows what they do anyway). These scenarios pretty much put them in the wannabe category which makes it mighty interesting for those of us who are doomed to perpetual geekdom.

School network admins end up having to draw lots of pictures and struggle for elementary terms to describe our acronyms while all around us the network is down. Many of us pray we won’t get hacked because security policies go completely unheeded; we all know that making teachers use secure passwords impedes the educational process. And we are bombarded with righteous indignation when streaming radio is blocked; making school district personnel understand the concept of finite bandwidth is an exercise in futility.

I once attended a week long Novell training class sponsored by BOCES around the state, and all the attendees were school district network admins. The trainer was a great guy who had heretofore done training for corporate and government network administrators. After three days of listening to us swap war stories during the breaks, he looked at all of us with this incredulous look and said, “Why do you do this”? He was amazed by our stories of minuscule budgets, clueless administrators and buildings full of hundreds of potential hackers.

The wheels of change in education move at the approximate speed of your average iceberg, and schools are finally beginning to realize the value of technology both instructionally and administratively. My hope is that districts will begin to take a harder look at who is running their Tech departments, and replace their computer enthusiast tech directors with people who actually understand the concept of ROI.



  1. March 8, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Reminds me of when I did some work over at the Coxsackie school district in ’03. Computer administration was near non-existent and the network was a disaster. After three weeks of work I was glad to get out of there and let someone else handle the maelstrom. I sure hope it’s been improved since then or else I’m pretty sure all school productivity has ground to a halt by now.

  2. The Hebrew Hammer said,

    March 8, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    And this is a world im only beginning to see. its a far cry from the for profit world, where just your users are often clueless.

  3. Charley said,

    March 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    It appears you have a reader who doesn’t know how to type in complete sentences.

  4. chickenminnie said,

    March 9, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    He doesn’t know anything about punctuation, either.

  5. The Hebrew Hammer said,

    March 10, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I happen to be fluent in New York ease. Whether I choose to use it or not is at my own discretion.

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