Jun 28 2014

What Do Pop Flies and Ed Tech Have in Common?

An educator explains how perspective matters when it comes to the ed tech landscape.

Anyone who has spent time watching Little League or even Major League baseball has seen this scenario: Two players converge on a pop-up, and at the last second they both pull away as the ball falls to the dirt.

For many years, because technology was so complex, IT called the shots and schools would adapt to whatever tools would work in their environment.

But in our current educational technology landscape, this is changing — rapidly.

As the consumerization of technology in schools continues to take shape, IT leaders are listening more to the needs of students and teachers. This is no doubt a positive trend. But if IT suddenly says, “You got it!” — without continued collaboration — someone’s likely to drop the ball. If your school is making this transition in decision-making, here are some keys to ensuring you make the catch, and win the game for your students.

Teamwork: As I wrote in a previous post, understanding each participant's point of view is key to the overall success of such a transition. Think of a sliding scale: The level of involvement and resource utilization on each team will be dependent on the desired outcome of the implementation. If IT and Curriculum are not working in lock-step as a team, this has to be remedied first.

Game plan: One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from Benjamin Franklin: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” In the planning phase of any new educational technology project, you must identify each group’s roles and potential knowledge gaps. It is important to recognize strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) early on in planning.

Pinch Hitter: We certainly live in a do-it-yourself society, but in educational technology, we can learn a lot from not doing it ourselves, especially the first time. As you make the transition to this new model of thinking, don’t be afraid to bring in outside assistance — and this doesn’t always have to be a consultant. Use the power of your network to find a colleague with experience who can assist you.

Certainly, there are other options for nurturing this important relationship, but these are just a few. I encourage you to share ideas on how you “connect IT” by commenting or reaching out on Twitter at @k12cto. And if you happen to be headed to Atlanta for ISTE 2014, you can find me at the CDW-G Booth 1115.

[title]Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology

This article is part of the Connect IT: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Technology series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #ConnectIT hashtag.

<p>Joe Belanger/ThinkStock</p>