Who’s Got Your Back?

Sunday started like any other Sunday.  I’m up and about just after 5 and grab my iPad to do some quiet reading before the rest of the family and the dog make an appearance.  My reading started differently though.  Instead of a typical high tech or educational lead story, I read “FlightAware Shows Path of Crashing Plane.”  I read that and turned on the television and, sure enough, there was live coverage of the aftermath.  The Boeing 777 is the state of the art technology and it was good to see the rescue teams immediately on the spot helping the survivors.  They certainly had their backs.

Later in the morning, it was racing at the Nurburgring with the German Grand Prix.  It’s enjoyable to watch the highest technology racing series on the planet.  It was another spectacular race with its cutting edge technologies such as Kers and DRS making for exciting racing.  There were a couple of on track incidents involving safety crews but the most exciting moments occur in the pits when a team of mechanics descend on a car and change tires literally in seconds.  Those mechanics certainly had the driver’s back.

Later in the afternoon, it was Indycar racing at Pocono Raceway.  It’s a different type of racing when compared to Formula 1.  Racing over 215 miles per hour and turning left is just an unbelievable experience.  Again, with the high tech, and the concept of Push to Pass promotes a different way to get more energy into the vehicle for a short period of time.  Again, when it comes time for service in the bigs, the mechanics are there to cover the driver’s back, delivering the best in a short period of time and they’re back racing.

Whether it’s air travel or car racing, nobody stands alone.  Without the backing and support, it just doesn’t happen.

During my reading, I also stumbled across an article by Dr. Doug Green titled “Should we get rid of technology directors?“.  It’s a post from a couple of years back that presents an interesting perspective.  Dr. Green talks about his own experience as a technology director.  I recognize that the role is interpreted and implemented differently from school to school or from district to district so it probably needs a little mental melding to fit your reality.  He concludes with the sentence “A job that has become impossible for one person can become possible once it is viewed as everyone’s job.

That really got me thinking.  We’ve all read about unfortunate choices made by educators that end up in the headlines or even in the courts.  There is so much in the world of educational technology and so much is new and changing, it does beg the question “Who’s got your back?” if we remove the technology director?

There’s no shortage of great ideas in the classroom.  Read any educational technology blog or follow the right people on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus and there’s a new technology or web resource or application appearing daily – literally.  In a modern classroom, with all its political, administrative, and student challenges, where’s the time to learn what is the best of the best, the most appropriate for a particular use, or one that’s consistent with school or district goals?

Should it not be the role of the technology director to be constantly evaluating and sharing what really works?  Should she/he not be leading the professional learning and sharing so that classrooms are adopting the best of the best?  Should the technology director not be meeting with teachers or making classroom visits to help develop a shared vision for success?  Should he/she not be available by phone or email to trouble shoot the issues that pop up?  And they will pop up.

The high technology world of airplane travel or auto racing cannot be successful without someone covering their back. To that mix, I would add the high technology classroom of today.



  1. Got to watch some of that Grand Prix race in the pub yesterday, because the Brit sportscasters had to fill the gap with something after that match at Wimbledon went a little faster than expected. 🙂

    As usual, I like the way your brain works. I always feel like one of my jobs as a classroom teacher integrating technology is to teach my students and colleagues techniques to help them watch each other’s backs, particularly in the area of digital citizenship. The more students I teach to avoid digital stupidity, for lack of a better term, the more chance of it rippling out. In the wake of tragedies like the death of Rehtaeh Parsons, teaching my students that it’s okay to be the person who speaks up about what’s going on digitally is okay.


  2. My most beloved tech educators have been the ones who would sit in unit-planning sessions and come back with resources that would enhance both lesson objectives and authentic assessments.

    These lovely people also agreed to co-teach with me the first time an new program or type of technology was introduced. If something is gonna go wrong (which, fortunately, it usually didn’t), it was nice to have someone there to run for parts or other IT people. I didn’t have to try and explain the problem at a later time.

    In order to do these things, though, the tech educators had to be clear that their job was to work with teachers and the IT department fixed major hardware/software issues.


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