Tech Director Chat #002 – Upgrade Pains & Accessibility

Last week I made a promise to deliver one chat with my district’s tech director each week. I almost broke that promise while struggling with Shout Engine’s submission form today, but their support came through with flying colors, and you now have the podcast below for your listening pleasure. Truth be told, Shout Engine has been ridiculously easy for getting this podcast up and running (and this is coming from someone who has helped dozens of individuals get started with podcast production and hosting). I was excited to get this episode up for two reasons. One; my tech director, Pete Poggione, enjoyed sitting down and having a chance to talk through some of the thought processes that go into technology decision making for a K-12 school district. Two; I got responses from the teachers that I support! Sure, some of them were standard grumbles about issues that bug even me, but a lot of the responses were just average curiosities and questions that many have been asking for awhile.

Whether it’s lack of time, lack of interest, or just a lack of patience, many often want an answer that sadly there isn’t always time for, especially at the start of the school year. Not that we don’t have time to answer pressing questions, but rather there never seems to be time enough for an answer that makes sense, and offers a bit of reasoning behind the decision. I’m hoping that by continuing to provide these “this is why” type answers, it will give listeners (teachers in my district or elsewhere) an opportunity to satisfy that all consuming “why?!” question that burns at the heart of any question. As educators, we’re all curious human beings, and even though we may not agree with the decisions made by administrators, I’ve found that most people are at least satisfied with a well thought out explanation as to why a decision was made. Or better yet, a well reasoned response allows for a more nuanced conversation that could in turn alter decisions made in the future for the better. However altruistic this project may sound, it’s certainly a bit of an ego-boost to know that people are listening, and commenting. Enjoy the second episode of “Tech Director Chat”, and feel free to chime in on Twitter using the #TechDirectorChat hashtag if you have questions or thoughts to share.

Here’s a rundown of this week’s questions:

1:38 – Is it gratifying for Pete to get his hands dirty and work on help desk tickets instead of staying behind his desk all the time?

4:30 – Are there new projectors or interactive whiteboards coming?

6:45 – Shoutout to the Later Elementary Teachers, they rock today!

7:31 – Can we upgrade our laptops to OS X Mavericks, and why have you waited so long? – I was told after the recording that I forgot to mention that we also postponed upgrading because not all of the important software we use in the district had been updated by their developers.

13:08 – What plans are in place for providing accessibility for students with special needs or accomodations using district technology?

16:01 – How do Apple products help us with meeting student’s needs and accommodations?

Tech Director Chat – Upgrade Pains & Accessibility