Friday, September 23, 2011

Workers choose own devices

More Offices Let Workers Choose Their Own Devices

Interesting article from the NYT which I came by via a retired colleague... and some food for thought given the big gulf between the management objectives/decisions and teacher expectations/feedback about what technology is for in education. I like the part about the stipend and cooperation between employees and IT/management. This is somewhat different than simply offering public wireless and leaving the rest up to chance, which seems to be one of the planks in our district's tech directions.

I think supporting user choice in our district with some redirected funding would be very interesting and probably yield some surprising benefits. In the least, we should recognize that the different, competing, sometimes disparate needs in our school system require a more responsive approach to backing technology than we've experienced in the last two years. We should think about what it means to support teachers in their use of technology in a different frame than we think about how learners (students, of course, but also teachers and others) access technology for learning and also how offices access technology for business applications. The trend is to download all of the related costs to the user (e.g., but our school system can't shirk its responsibility to invest its own time, thought, and money into teaching & learning capital -- not all of this can be borrowed from the internet or purchased from a vendor.

The thinking we seem stuck with is bound by district-wide moves and cost downloads (single platform, purchase restrictions, denial of "21C" proposals and learning grants that require purchases, removal of input mechanisms like the DTT, etc.). Perhaps the kind of arrangement described in the NYT article presents a compromise postition and allows innovation to proceed independent of the "choking" tendencies when control/security/standardization/downsizing drive the tech-purchase paradigm.

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